THE Horticultural sub-sector in Tanzania is set for a boom, as stakeholders join hands to increase production volume, improve infrastructure and logistics and as well as enter bilateral agreements.
With the pledge from the government, further to reviving some 16 closed horticulture plantations measuring 1,950 acres in Arusha, the apex private sector member-based organization that advocates for the growth and competitiveness of the horticultural sector – TAHA is consolidating efforts that have so far seen it in a horticulture network of 190 countries.
TAHA Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Ms Jacqueline Mkindi noted in Arusha on Saturday that once the plantations are revived, coupled with improved varieties of flowers, fruits, vegetables, spices, herbs and horticultural seeds to the international level, it would mean assured smooth exports and forex earnings.
Ms Mkindi noted that as of now, many products are channeled through Mombasa Port instead of Dar es Salaam due to low volume in production, meaning that while Dar is not assured to fill a whole big ship every week, Mombasa releases a ship every Wednesday with the perishables from different parts.
“We are working hard on the issue of production volume because as of now it is low; Tanzania is not producing enough quality horticulture products. We are also working on logistics to see that there is a priority in receiving perishable containers at our port ...there is an improvement now, but we need more. “With a network of 190 countries, once logistic issues are cleared and production volume reaches a certain level, we will surely have huge ships anchoring at Dar es Salaam at least each week,” noted Ms Mkindi.
She made the speech, while hosting the Minister for Agriculture, Professor Adolf Mkenda at their office, saying that Mombasa Port gives priority to containers with perishables and tracking them when on road, service she said is important to be initiated at Dar es Salaam Port TAHA has reinstated its cargo flight for export of the perishables and is already a member of International Air Transport Association (IATA) and FIATA International Federation of Freight Forwarders Associations that is a nongovernmental, membership-based organization representing freight forwarders in some 150 countries.
The CEO unveiled that they have since initiated domestic certification of their products instead of using foreigners, something that has greatly reduced operation costs.
It established a third-party certification body (Green-Cert) as the neutral organization for auditing, inspection, certification and licensing activities within the framework of different standards system in the horticulture sector.
TAHA had been looking to do business with several countries, some of them being China and South Africa that, Ms Mkindi, said were in high demand of avocado, but sadly there were no sales on bilateral agreement on that front.
The process has since been initiated. She said that projections are that by 2025/2026, avocado will get the country more than 600mUS$ if all goes well.
There is a need for Tanzania to have internationally accredited laboratories, at least one in each of the country’s zones so as to ensure the country’s products always meet international; standards.
She noted that apart from Green-cert, TAHA is doing well in provision of premier logistics services through TAHAFresh that evolved from horticulture cargo handling to integrated logistics services, covering airfreight and sea/ocean freight forwarding, trucking, customs clearing and forwarding as well as insurance.
Professor Mkenda said he was impressed by TAHA, noting that it was in the right direction and would be sustainable.
He pledged that his ministry will address the production volume issue.
“I am really impressed by TAHA – the services but also the CEO doing very well, not only in management but also in advocacy and going to the ground to work and direct.
I am proud of you – do more on logistics and we will be working closely with you,” noted Prof Mkenda.
TAHA is a catalyst promoting Public-Private-Partnership thereby providing a platform for industry networking and partnership at both the local and international levels.
As a member based apex organization, TAHA represents the needs of the industry and drives change through its advocacy initiatives.