Zanzibar, TAHA to unleash horticulture potential

ZANZIBAR government and Tanzania Horticultural Association (TAHA) have agreed to strengthen cooperation in a bid to unlock potential of horticultural industry in the Isles to boost economic growth.

The agreement was reached in Arusha after a long day engagement between the Zanzibar Minister of Agriculture, Irrigation, Natural Resources and Livestock, Mr Shamata Shaame Khamis and the TAHA Management under its CEO, Ms Jacqueline Mkindi.

Mr Khamis was in official tour at the headquarters of the country’s champion of a multi-million-dollar horticultural industry, TAHA to explore areas of collaboration to spur the horticulture industry in Zanzibar.

The deal entails to work together to boost productivity in the key horticultural value chain, as Zanzibar regime seeks the industry to generate more foreign currency and jobs for youth and women.

The public-private-partnership will also spearhead an establishment of efficient cold-chain management and state-of-the-art storage facilities and logistics in Zanzibar to cater for horticultural crops and other perishables destined for exports markets.

Mr Khamis also implored TAHA to replicate its model of operations from Tanzania Mainland to Zanzibar, particularly, its participation in various forums such as agricultural fairs in Zanzibar to entice a critical mass of youth and women to engage in horticulture farming.

Moving a vote of thanks, the Minister Khamis praised TAHA for its critical role it has been playing in developing the horticulture industry in Zanzibar for over a decade.

“We are grateful to TAHA not only for your role in nurturing the horticulture in Zanzibar, but also for your recent resolve to build a permanent office. The move implies that, TAHA is in Zanzibar to stay. Let’s work more closely than ever before to transform the industry” he concluded.

TAHA in partnership with TRIAS and AHA under the four years European Union (EU) funded flagship programme, AGRI-CONNECT, had been able to construct a cutting-edge horticulture knowledge hub in Zanzibar.

TAHA CEO, Ms Mkindi informed the minister that her organisation’s logistic arm, TAHA Fresh Handling Ltd, was operating in Zanzibar, after it had acquired full registration.

“Our logistics outfit has been registered and opened-up its office in Zanzibar, so I can safely say that the horticultural crops and other perishables will be able to reach overseas markets at their optimum conditions,” she explained.

Productivity and net returns for horticulture smallholder farmers in Zanzibar had grown by leaps and bounds, a courtesy of extensive adoption of new agricultural technologies.

Fresh data shows that TAHA-supported farmers in Zanzibar have witnessed harvests in horticulture swelling 100 per cent in a decade, the highest ratio indeed in a stagnant agricultural sector, offering a ray of hope for growers and economy.

For instance, incredible growth in horticultural production in Zanzibar has enabled Zanzibar to graduate from being a net importer of fruits and vegetables from Tanzania Mainland in 2013 to an exporter.

Zanzibar used to import 80 per cent of its fruits and vegetable from Tanzania mainland in 2013, but now it imports around 20 per cent of the specific crops for specified diets for tourists.

Production of crops such as tomatoes, cucumber, watermelon and sweet pepper has swelled in the past ten years, prompting Zanzibar to cut the crops imports from as much as 80 percent in 2013 to merely 20 percent of specified crops for tourists from Tanzania mainland.

The statistics show, in 2018 Zanzibar farmers exported a combined surplus of 507 metric tonnes of tomatoes to Tanzania Mainland, fetching a cool 1.2bn/-, thanks to TAHA’s total transformation of horticulture in the Isles.

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