EXPORTS of avocado crop have contributed about 8.5 million US dollars, (about 19.5bn/-) to the national revenue due to the markets obtained from France, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom.
This was revealed by Deputy Minister for Agriculture Hussein Bashe, while answering a question from Neema Mgaya (Special Seats-CCM) before the National Assembly.
He said that avocado was one of the fastest growing crops and has shown great success and that the exports of the crop had increased from 3,279 tonnes in 2015 to 9,000 tonnes in 2018.
According to the Deputy Minister, in 2018 the sales of the crop brought in the country a sum of 8.5 million US dollars (about 19.5bn/-) from the markets of France, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom.
“The avocado crop has already been introduced as one of the strategic crops and the ministry is in the early stages of proposing the establishment of Horticultural Crops Authority,” he said.
The Deputy Minister added that the Authority would be responsible for managing horticulture crops including avocados to increase productivity and meet the needs of the local, regional and international markets.
In his question, Ms Mgaya wanted to know the government’s strategy to include avocados into strategic crops, because it is currently one of the crops that bring into the country a big share of foreign exchange earnings.
In his response, Mr Bashe explained that avocados were among the horticulture crops that are given priority in the Agricultural Sector Development Programme Phase II (ASDP II) due to its importance in boosting income and nutrition for farmers and the community at large.
He said that the government was in the process of finalising the 2021-2030 Horticulture Crop Industry Development Strategy, which will serve as an investment vision for the Horticulture Sector, which includes avocados and that the Strategy has involved all key stakeholders in the horticulture value chain.
To ensure the cost of transportation of horticulture products including avocados is reduced, the deputy minister pointed out that the government would build an Agricultural Logistics Hub on an area of 20 acres in the Export Processing Zone (EPZ) at Kurasini in Dar es Salaam.
The centre in question, he said, would be a One Stop Centre with specialists and infrastructure for cold chain storage before exportation of the crops at affordable prices.
Mr Bashe said that such state of affairs would be different from the current situation where some products are forced to be transported through Nairobi Airport following a reduced cost of transportation services.
The deputy minister said that the implementation of the Horticulture Crop Development Strategy and the establishment of a Regulatory Authority of such crops would increase productivity and contribute significantly to the farmers’ income and the nation as well.