Millionaires emerge from ginger farming

Summary

  • Akida Group Ltd is working closely with farmers, and has purchased 22 metric tonnes of organic ginger for exportation

Arusha. Spices and herbs smallholder farmers in the northern zone are laughing all the way to the bank, as they have become overnight millionaires for selling their organic ginger cash crop to an export-oriented company.

To be precise, a total of seven small-scale growers from semi-arid Mamba Miamba Village in Same District, Kilimanjaro Region have cheerfully made a windfall income amounting to Sh18 million, thanks to Akida Group Ltd, for purchasing their 22 metric tonnes of organic ginger for the export market.

The firm is a subsidiary of ATB- market LLC, one of the leading retail trade companies in Ukraine with over 1,500 supermarket chains.

“We are making a major foray in the ginger crop in Tanzania. To start with, we have purchased a total of 22 metric tons (tonnes) from Mamba Miamba farmers for export to Ukraine,” said Akida Group Ltd official, Dr Promise Isaac.

Dr Isaac divulged that his company needs two shipping containers loaded with an overall weight of 29 metric tons of ginger for export every week, or eight containers per month in its bid to fill its supermarket chains’ empty shelves in Western Europe.

“This is a huge market opportunity for Tanzania’s ginger.

“The window is not just a one-off purchase, ours is a lifetime commitment,” he explained, urging the local farmers to up their game to produce high quality and large volumes of ginger to satisfy our supply chain”, he noted.

Although it is newly registered in Tanzania, Akida Group Ltd intends to leverage on experiences from its existing business ties with Latin America, Western Europe, and West Africa through its parent company based in Dnipro, Ukraine.

Currently, ginger is widely grown in Same District, particularly on the slopes of the Usambara Mountains--the ancient range in northeast Tanzania, which is part of the Eastern Arc.

Ginger is used as a spice and for medicinal purposes.

Official data from Same District indicates the area produces 70 percent of all the country’s ginger production, as its small-scale growers produce 14,500 tons annually.

Other ginger-growing regions in Tanzania include Ruvuma, Kigoma, Tanga, Morogoro, Coast, and Mbeya regions.

Indeed, for a decade now, farmers from the Same district have not been able to reap the dividends of ginger cultivation owing to an unpredictable market, but the growers who had never abandoned the crop have hit the jackpot this season.

Mr Mkazeni Elangwa Msherwa and his other co-farmers said the once downtrodden ginger crop have, since last week, been making the families see the light at end of the tunnel as they earn millions of shillings from the crop in the maiden consignment sale.

“It’s like a miracle for us to secure a reliable buyer of ginger. We are so grateful to horticulture champion organization Taha group for linking up with a Ukraine niche market” said Mr Msherwa.

Taha Group has played a critical role in convincing the buyer to make a major foray into Tanzania’s horticulture industry.

Taha Group has also partnered with the Akida to use its ultra-modern pack house in Tengeru precinct in Arusha built through UNDP funds, to process ginger and other horticultural crops ready for export.