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Farmers, firms reap big from EU support

Monday October 12 2020
Farmers pic

Photo @greenworldwarriors

Arusha. Smallholder farmers and firms in Tanzania are reaping big from a European Union (EU) market access programme.

Over 1,000 of the farmers have been capacitated in modern production techniques of fresh produce for export.

Improvement of the quality of their fresh produce has enabled them to easily access the multi-million dollar EU market.

Elsewhere, firms secured loans totaling $1 million, with over 50 capacitated in financial management, branding and packaging.

“The interventions have been rewarding,” says Mr Safari Fungo, senior regional technical advisor with the EU-EAC Market Access Upgrade Programme (MARK-UP).

This is a four-year initiative launched in June 2018. It is funded by the EU with co-financing from Germany to the tune of 40 million Euros.

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It is intended to increase the East African Community (EAC) region’s competitiveness of its agricultural exports principally to the EU.

He cited spices and avocado growers as examples, saying they have successfully penetrated the markets with exports in millions of dollars.

Over 1,000 spices farmers and exporters trained on the production and post-harvest techniques have led to a four-fold rise in the value of their sales.

Spice producers have seen the value of their cinnamon chips increase by more than four-fold through MARK-UP interventions.

Cinnamon chips, said to have medicinal properties, now fetches $10 per kilogramme in the international market, up from $2 per kg until recently.

“However, it was reported to be sold by $19 per kg for the recently exported consignment,” he told The Citizen. Avocado farmers in Njombe and Mbeya are other beneficiaries. They have gained access to EU markets after meeting the safety compliance.

“Some of them were on the verge of their exports being blocked for non-compliance but now they have been cleared,” Mr Fungo explained.

There are a total of nine groups of avocado farmers in Njombe and Mbeya regions supported by the programme.

They have been assisted to comply with Good Agricultural Practices (GlobalGAP) which is key to penetrate the food export markets.

During the Fruit Logistica 2020 Trade Fair in Berlin, Germany, in February, avocado exporters from Tanzania struck deals worth $2 million.

“In total, 55 new leads were generated, of which 15 were concrete with a total value of close to $1.75 million,” he said.

Spices exporters and dealers from Tanzania were also assisted to participate in the Food and Ingredients Trade Fair in Paris in December last year.

“More than 1,300 smallholder farmers, over 200 SMES and 20 institutions have so far benefited from MARK-UP interventions in Tanzania,” he said.

In addition, 71 private sector representatives and 130 trade experts from the public and private sectors were trained in market research analysis.

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