Horticultural exports value set for major boost

ARUSHA: PROSPECTS for local horticultural farmers are high, as the Trademark Africa (TMA) has partnered with Tanzania Horticultural Association (TAHA) to expand the reach and improve the marketability of fresh produce from Tanzania.

The three-year strategic partnership, backed by a 2.1 million US dollars (5.4bn/- ) grant from the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO), Norway, and Ireland-Funded TMA, also focuses on fostering sustainable trade practices, and empowering local farmers in the horticultural industry.

Particulars show that the TMA and TAHA’s strategic partnership will upscale production volume of strategic horticultural value chains destined for regional and overseas markets from 50,000 metric tonnes worth 18.3 million US dollars (about 47.5bn/-) to 89,754 metric tonnes, with a potential for fetching 30.6 million (about 77.9bn/-) per annum.

The scheme also will directly benefit 55,708 horticultural growers across the country, up from the current 27,854 farmers, mostly women and youth engaging in growing strategic horticultural crops for export markets.

At the strategic alliance signing ceremony, which took place at the weekend in Arusha, Ms Monica Hangi, TMA’s Regional Director for East and Central Africa, highlighted why TAHA stood out as a partner of choice.

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The partnership is expected to involve several key initiatives, including capacity building, technological advancements, and adherence to international quality standards.

This agreement comes at a crucial time as the horticultural sub-sector faces numerous challenges, including inadequate market access, limited logistical support, and impacts of climate change that have been crippling its growth and profitability.

As this collaboration unfolds, it is expected to set a new standard in the horticulture industry in Tanzania and beyond, potentially increasing exports and providing farmers with better incomes, thus contributing significantly to the economic stability of the region.

To be precise, TMA and TAHA will establish direct linkages between farmers and buyers, leverage digital solutions to improve market accessibility, enhance market understanding through training, address environmental and climate challenges, and ensure compliance with international standards like Global G.A.P and the British Retail Consortium Global Standards.

On his part TAHA’s Chief Development Manager Mr Anthony Chamanga said the grant marks a significant milestone in their ongoing efforts to enhance the global competitiveness of Tanzania’s horticultural products.

“With TMA’s support, we are poised to implement robust strategies that will lead to sustainable growth and substantial economic benefits for our local communities” Mr Chamanga noted.

By partnering with both public and private stakeholders, along with development partners, he said, this project will not only advance the horticultural sub-sector within the SAGCOT and Northern growth corridors but also accelerate the industry’s export growth, currently at around five per cent.

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“Horticulture that earns the economy 425.4 million US dollars (about 1.1tri/- ) at the moment after the worst Covid-19 pandemic brought a 780 million US dollars (about 2tri/-) to its knees, ranks as one of the fastest-growing industries within the agricultural sector in Tanzania, boasting an annual growth rate of around 9-12 per cent” Mr Chamanga said.

He added: “This industry injects a substantial foreign exchange into the economy through exports of vegetables, fruits, flowers and spices. TMA’s support provides catalytic opportunities for creating jobs and opening new markets for local farmers.” No wonders, the government had developed a strategy intending to spur horticulture industry to earn the economy 2 billion US dollars (about 5.2tri/-) per year and create decent employment to a critical mass of youths and women along the entire value chain come 2030.

TradeMark Africa Tanzania Country Director, Mr Elibariki Shammy said that phase two builds on the successes of the first phase, which saw substantial market linkages and certification achievements for local farmers, contributing significantly to economic growth.

“Phase one of the project, which ran from January 2019 to June 2023, yielded tangible results, with 27,854 farmers (35 per cent women, 65 per cent men, and 40 per cent youths) linked to markets, and approximately 50,000 tonnes of horticultural products worth roughly 42.7bn/- ($18.3 million) sold,” Mr Shammy noted.

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