‘Tanzania horticulture exports data not captured well’
- He said that although Tanzania was the largest producer of fresh vegetables in East Africa, it was not the leading exporter.
- The export value of Tanzania’s vegetables remains below that of Kenya by far, he told the Horticulture Stakeholders’ Dialogue.
Arusha. Not all horticultural exports from Tanzania are captured in data, it was observed here yesterday.
The bulk of the volumes are routed through Kenya by the firms which are subsidiaries of large companies based there.
“These kinds of exports are not fully captured in Tanzania data,” said Prof Godius Kahyarara, the permanent secretary of the Ministry of Investment, Industry and Trade.
He said that although Tanzania was the largest producer of fresh vegetables in East Africa, it was not the leading exporter.
The export value of Tanzania’s vegetables remains below that of Kenya by far, he told the Horticulture Stakeholders’ Dialogue.
This was due to the current business arrangements whereby Tanzanian exporting companies are subsidiaries of large firms based in Kenya.
“Because of this, these kinds of exports are not fully captured in Tanzania data despite the huge volumes,” he pointed out.
A year before the outbreak of Covid-19, the sub sector earned the economy $779 million in exports, for 2019.
Tanzania is among the world’s top 20 producers of fresh vegetables with annual production of over 1.8 million tonnes of vegetables.
The PS remarks were echoed by Taha Group CEO Jacquiline Mkindi who said the Mombasa port has taken a lion’s share of horticultural exports from Tanzania.
“We should not talk of large volumes of exports going through Kenya by air freight alone but also through the sea,” she said.
Up to 80 to 90 percent of avocado and other fresh produce exports from the southern highland regions are exported through the Mombasa port. “This challenge can be tackled through the improvement of cargo handling processes in our ports,” she told journalists on the sidelines of the meeting.
She said Nairobi remained a gateway to the fresh produce from the northern regions in the absence of dedicated cargo planes to Tanzania.
However, Ms Mkindi appreciated the support from the government which has enabled the horticultural exporters to penetrate the new markets abroad.
These include France which she described as having a big potential and new markets in the Middle Eastern countries.
“We are beneficiaries of the government’s efforts. Now we (horticultural exporters) can access the markets easily,” she said.
Ms Mkindi said the sub sector was still grappling with an array of hurdles which have to be tackled jointly with the government.
This, she emphasized, would enable the horticulture industry to recapture the lucrative markets abroad after the easing of Covid-19 restrictions.
Earlier, the dialogue was told that the horticulture industry attracted a total of 63 investment projects worth $139.54 million since 1990.
The projects were expected to create employment for 10,906; farm and processing plants’ workers, among others.
“There are vast opportunities in horticulture”, said Maduhu Kazi, the executive director of the Tanzania Investment Centre (TIC).
The opportunities range from modern vegetables, fruits, flowers, spices to horticultural seed business operations.
The contribution of the investments in horticulture to total agricultural investments has averaged 17 percent since 2007.
Between 2017/18 and 2019/20, production of horticultural products increased by 42 percent, translating into an annual growth of 21 percent.
According to Dr Kazi, the horticulture industry in Tanzania employs more than 4.5 million people, which makes it a major employer in the agricultural sector.