EFFORTS of President Samia Suluhu Hassan in unleashing economic diplomacy has continued to bear fruits as witnessed in the sharp rise of avocado exports to more than three times in the last harvest season.
According to data unveiled by the Ministry of Agriculture, the exports increased from 9,000 tonnes to 29,031 tonnes in the last harvest season.
Issuing a welcoming note to President Samia during the closure of Famers Day (Nanenane) celebration held at national level at John Mwakangale grounds in Mbeya Region yesterday, the Minister for Agriculture, Mr Hussein Bashe said the effort made by the Head of the State to visit foreign countries in search for market have greatly contributed to the increase of avocado exportation.
“Our avocado export has increased from 9,000 tonnes to 29,031 tonnes in the last harvest season and the sharp increase was as a result of President Samia’s visit outside the country, which attracted investors to open centres in Njombe and Mbeya regions,” he pointed out.
Coupled with that, Mr Bashe added that the rise was due to the sixth phase government providing subsidies to avocado farmers in the country.
In particular, he noted that for the first time in history, this was the period that Tanzania has attained and sold grade two quality of hass avocado in the international market.
“I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate you President Samia, you gave subsidy to avocado farmers with inputs to spray pests and for the first time Tanzania has achieved grade two hass type in the international market…and in this year the hass avocado from Tanzania has registered the best record than any other country in the East African region” he added.
Elaborating, the minister said the government expects to spend more than 200bn/- in providing subsidies to farmers in the next farming season, adding that the use of fertiliser is expected to reach 650, 000 tonnes.
In a related development, Mr Bashe insisted on quick investment at the Dar es Salaam Port for export of perishable food crops, saying that the investment will reduce the export costs.
“We farmers are waiting for the port investment to be quickened because shipping one container from Rungwe District in Mbeya Region to Mombasa cost 9,000 US dollars, but if we use the Dar port, it is only 4,000 US dollars,” he said
His opinion was in line with Speaker of the National Assembly, Dr Tulia Ackson, who also commended President Samia for purchasing the first cargo freight plane (Boeing 767-300) to ease transportation of goods, adding that the government should continue to invest in various sectors, including the port to earn more funds for development.
“We want the government to continue finding more investors in various areas so that the country can get more funds to purchase more cargo planes in order to benefit our farmers,” Dr Tulia said.
On his part, the Minister for Livestock and Fisheries, Abdallah Ulega, explained his docket’s strategies in raising the economy, while commending President Samia for continuing to facilitate the livestock and fishery sectors, where in particular her government increased the ministry’s budget from 168bn/- to 295bn/-.
“The budget increment has made a lot of changes in these sectors and the ministry has already distributed about 1,200 motorcycles to our agricultural Extension Officers in the district
“For instance, in this year’s budget, we have purchased 1,200 motorcycles and1100 veterinary kit which will be used to carry out vaccination exercise for livestock,” he pointed out.
On his part, the ruling party CCM Secretary General, Daniel Chongolo said the party was satisfied with how the government executes its manifesto in various sectors, including agriculture, livestock and fishery sectors.
He added that the investment made by the government in the agricultural sector, particularly the youth’s programme of Building a Better Tomorrow (BBT) initiative, will unleash reliable employment among youth in the country and boost the country’s economy.