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Tanzania sends first avocado consignment to India

Tanzania sends first avocado consignment to India

A TOTAL of 20 tonnes of Tanzania avocados are expected to be exported to India by the end of January this year, being part of government’s deliberations on looking for international markets for home-grown crops.

This was said on Friday by the Deputy Minister for Agriculture, Mr Anthony Mavunde at the Julius Nyerere International Airport (JNIA) in an event to dispatch a consignment of 200 kilogrammes of avocado from Tanzania to India aboard Air Tanzania Company Limited (ATCL) plane.

The deputy minister also issued assurance of the government’s commitment to continue supporting avocado farmers and provide all the needed support for their produce to secure markets abroad.

According to him, Tanzania has an annual capacity to produce 40,000 tonnes of avocados, however; the export has been recorded at only 9,000 tonnes, noting that plans are on cards to increase productivity.

“In the next financial year, the Ministry of Agriculture will establish a common user facility in one of the southern highland regions that will be responsible for collecting, sorting, grading and packaging all the avocados for the sake of maintaining the quality of the produce before export,” he explained.

Moreover, the government will establish a green channel with the aim to ease exportation of horticulture products from the farms to the final destination with the same quality.

Speaking during the event the Director at Kamal Steel Limited, Mr Sameer Santosh Gupta who is the champion for the market, detailed how the Dar es Salaam-based company worked with the relevant authorities in Tanzania and India to ensure that the latter allows the former’s avocados in its supermarkets.

“I used to wonder that whenever I went to India, I could buy avocados from Peru, Mexico and New Zealand while I understand we have a lot of tasty avocados here in Tanzania. That was how the journey started,” he said.

Despite being largely engaged in steel production, he said, he noted, the company understands that agriculture accounts for a good share of Tanzania’s economy.

He started communications with the ministries responsible for agriculture in Tanzania on one hand and India on the other way back in 2018 in an effort to find the market for the formers’ avocado, passion and soursop fruits.

“We thus realised that if we are to make an impact in the lives of Tanzanians, then we have no option but to ensure that they have ready markets for their produce,” he said, detailing his delight when the efforts finally yielded positive results.

“I am glad that officials from our two governments worked collectively to make the move a reality … this is good for our farmers, good for our transport logistic systems and good for the economy,” he said.

Also present at the event was the Indian High Commissioner to Tanzania, Mr Binaya Srikanta Pradhan who said the deal was made possible due to the cordial relationship that exists between Tanzania and India.

“Tanzania's avocados in India will be sold at competitive prices, because they will be entering the market on duty-free arrangement,” said the envoy.

ATCL Managing Director, Engineer Ladislaus Matindi, welcomed the deal saying they are expecting to fly 20 tonnes of avocados to India this month.

“We have also bought a Boeing 767 (cargo plane) that will be delivered next year,” he said, thanking the two governments of Tanzania and India for the initiative and bilateral talks that have made possible the export of avocado to the Asian country. 

For her part, Dr Jacqueline Mkindi the Chief Executive Officer of the apex body that advocates for the growth and competitiveness of the horticultural industry in Tanzania – TAHA - thanked the government for opening up the avocados market.

“Right now, the value of the avocados globally has reached $7.5bn; the main markets are in India, China and South Africa,” she said, noting that in the next four years the target is to export 28,000 tonnes of avocados.

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Author: DEOGRATIUS KAMAGI

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