Tanzania through the ministry of agriculture plans to construct three special centers for the collection, preservation and grading fresh fruits and vegetables.
The initiative aims at ensuring fresh farm produce for both exports and domestic consumption get Health, Hygenic and professional ground handling prior to being shipped overseas or distributed in local market outlets.
These state-of-the-art modern horticultural processing centers will be established at Dar es Salaam’s Harbour, Siha District of Kilimanjaro in Northern Highlands and Mufindi District of Iringa in Southern Highlands.
Deputy Minister of Agriculture, Anthony Mavunde tabled the new plans during the international conference on quality control and standards of vegetable and fruit crops held recently in Arusha.
The event ran under the theme of ‘Enhancing Compliance for Expanded Market Access and Trade’
“We cannot reach the quality of international markets for our vegetables and fruits in the country without building an enabling infrastructure,” he said.
Tanzania has already rolled out funds for the construction of the said three centers (common use facility), to ensure that Tanzania stands out in the continental horticultural industry.
“The government intends to increase the income from the sale of fruit and vegetable products abroad from USD 750 million, to USD 2 billion by the year 2030. It is our expectation that as a country, the government will continue cooperating well with all stakeholders in order to create stable and quality systems of our produce that we sell abroad”Anthony Mavunde – Deputy Minister of Agriculture
The Chief Executive Officer of the Tanzania Horticultural Association (TAHA) Dr Jacqueline Mkindi explains that the conference was to deliberate on better agronomic practices necessary to be adopted by local growers in the horticulture sector.
The Chairperson of TAHA Board of Directors, Engineer Zebadiah Moshi lauded he government for its support towards the sector.
Despite being endowed with suitable weather and climatic conditions topped with huge marketing potential, Tanzanian farmers are yet to seriously invest in profitable horticulture.
Despite the country’s high potential, Tanzania as a country is still not tapping effectively from the benefits that the country can earn from international Horticultural endeavors.
Reports from TAHA reveal that, during fiscal year 2016/17 the country produced a total of 1,298,388 Metric Tons (MT) of vegetable, whereby in 2017/18 production slightly increased to 1,595,489 metric tons.
In the 2018/19 fiscal year, vegetable production in the country rose to 1,926,927 metric tons.
When it comes to spices, production remained fixed at about 22,062 metric tons throughout 2016/17 and 2017/18. It slightly rose to 38,987 metric tons in 2018/19.
Despite low rate of production, the country has managed to rake in USD 311 Million from vegetable exports for the decade between 2001 to 2019.
Regional director for Eastern and Southern Africa for the World Vegetable Center, Dr. Gabriel Rugalema, says the state needs to work closely with the private sector in order to realize the sector’s full potential.
“The country has great potential for growing and benefiting from the crops, but we have yet to utilize the endowments, which are a grim situation.” says Dr Rugalema.
He observed that all regions within the country have potential for growing varied vegetables and spices, but saying currently the crops are being cultivated in few regions.
Countries that are doing well in the vegetable sector include South Africa, Ethiopia, Zimbabwe, Rwanda and Kenya.
Apparently, the vegetable sector in sub-Saharan Africa is severely underdeveloped and vegetable consumption is extremely low.