When exported to other East African Countries, the annual value of fresh Onions from Tanzania can reach 43 billion/- and counting.
Individual growers in the country are said to export an average of 42 tons of onions per year, according to Kelvin Remen, the Manager in-charge of Business Environment Manager at the apex body for Tanzania’s Private Sector (TAHA).
Launching a new ‘Onion Growers’ Cluster’ at Ilkidinga ward of Arumeru, District, Arusha Remen said Tanzanian growers usually sell their onions to other East African countries, especially Kenya, Uganda and South-Sudan.
“And they do it on individual basis, imagine if they could join and start exporting their produce together as a union, chances are they will grow more, sell more and become better recognized,” pointed out the TAHA official, adding that previously in 2019 local farmers had exported 39 tons of onions, earning 38 billion/- from the vegetables.
Through the newly established cluster, the Arusha-based, TAHA has now moved to assist small-scale growers to further formalize their onion producing and exporting industry to form unions, acquire loans from financial institutions and extension services as well as securing markets abroad.
At Ilkidinga there was already an onion growers’ union known as ‘Umoja wa Wakulima wa Vitunguu’ whose Secretary General, Evelyn Mollel stated that they had already started to cooperate with the Apex body.
“We are already benefiting from training series provided by TAHA which also works to strengthen our union for better products and reliable market in future,” said Evelyn Mollel.
She however expressed concern that, farmers are forced to over-pack their sacks as demanded by buyers so that a single pack could actually carry twice the volume of onions that would enter into single ordinary bag.
“Therefore farmers end up being the losers, it is like selling a consignment at half the price, but through the union we may seat and address this problem,” said Ms Mollel.
On her part, Salome Stephen the Gender and Nutrition Coordinator from TAHA, said apart from educating the growers on proper farming methods, we also teach them best ways of preparing onions as part of beneficial diet.