Arusha. Over 60 smallholder farmers have been trained on tomato processing and packaging, a move which would enable them to make good earnings from their backyard gardens.
The week-long training programme was conducted through the northern zone office of the Vocational Education Training Authority (Veta) as part of capacity building for grassroots business groups.
“We are also aiming to give necessary skills to entrepreneurship involved in tomato farming “, said Veta acting zonal director John Tesha.
Tomato farmers from Ngarenanyuki, Uwiro and Ngabobo wards attended the training which the government sees as part of the poverty alleviation efforts for farmers.
The government chose to undertake the training in the area after a survey established that a lot of tomatoes were rotting in farms and after harvesting.
He said the long-term plan is to set up small-scale tomato processing plants at Ngarenanyuki, Ngabobo, Uwiro and neighbouring villages where tomatoes thrive as soil is fertile.
Without giving statistics, Mr Tesha noted that Veta was now directing its efforts on providing skills to entrepreneurs in the informal sector
An official of the Meru District Council, Ms Grace Solomon, urged farmers to utilise the skills gained to increase production of tomatoes for local and foreign markets.