Tanzania’s avocados now hit Indian markets

Agriculture deputy minister Antony Mavunde (second right) listens to ATCL managing director Ladislaus Matindi (right) during the launch of the maiden shipment of Tanzanian avocados to India at Julius Nyerere International Airport in Da es Salaam yesterday. Centre is Kamal Group director Sameer Santosh Gupta who is the coordinator of the Avocado market in India. PHOTO | SAID KHAMIS

What you need to know:

  • Tanzania has already secured permits to access India and South African markets and now, Tanzania Horticultural Association  and the government are working to open the lucrative China avocado market

Dar es Salaam. Efforts to find international markets for Tanzania’s avocados achieved a milestone after a maiden consignment was exported to India on Friday. This is good news to smallholder growers, traders and the government alike.

Tanzania has already secured permits to access India and South African markets and now, Tanzania Horticultural Association (Taha) and the government are working to open the China avocado market.

Agriculture deputy minister Antony Mavunde said India granted market access to Tanzania’s avocados last November.

Mr Mavunde was speaking at the Julius Nyerere International Airport (JNIA) before the Air Tanzania Company Limited’s (ATCL) Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner carrying two tonnes of the fruit, took off.

“This is an opportunity that we need to capitalise on in order to up our avocado exports,” he said.

He said out of 40,000 tonnes of avocados that Tanzania is currently producing per annum, only 9,000 tonnes were being exported.

Mr Mavunde said the government had plans to establish a common user facility meant for receiving avocado from farmers, rating and grading them to ensure they meet international standards.

Kamal Steel Limited director Sameer Santosh Gupta, who is the champion of the market, detailed how the Dar es Salaam-based company worked with relevant authorities in Tanzania and India to ensure that the latter allows the avocado entry into its supermarkets. “Whenever I went to India, I could buy avocados from Peru, Mexico and New Zealand while I understand we have a lot of tasty avocadoes here in Tanzania. That’s how the journey started,” he said.

Despite being largely engaged in steel production, he said, the company understands that agriculture accounts for a good share of Tanzania’s economy.

The initiative of searching market for avocados, passion and sourop fruits started way back in 2018. “We realised that if we are to make an impact in the lives of Tanzanians, then we have no option but to ensure that we get markets for their produce,” he said. “This is good for our farmers, our transport logistics systems and good for the economy,” he said.

Indian High Commissioner to Tanzania Binaya Srikanta Pradhan who also attended the event said the deal was made possible due to the cordial relationship that exists between Tanzania and India.

He said Tanzania’s avocados in India will be sold at competitive prices because they will be entering the market on duty-free arrangement.

ATCL managing director Ladislaus Matindi said: “This is an opportunity for us.”

Mr Matindi said they had been flying little cargo to India, but more back to Tanzania, at around 8-12 tonnes per flight.

To up its capacity in carrying cargo, the national carrier boss said they would next year buy the cargo-only aircraft.

“The latest move by India is a huge boost for us and the local avocado industry since it opens doors for many smallholder farmers to reach international consumers,” said Mr Matindi.

Taha boss Jacqueline Mkindi said now that Tanzania had secured the permit to export avocados to India, it is high time stakeholders used the opportunity to the maximum.

“The market for avocados is growing. The value of the avocado global market stands at nearly $7.5 billion, three times compared to the past three years,” revealed Ms Mkindi.

According to the Tanzania Private Sector Foundation (TPSF), in 2018 Tanzania exported 7,551 tonnes of avocado with a total value of only $8.5 million to Europe, Africa, and Asia.