New Blueprint on Horticulture eyes $1bn in export earnings


  • The ambitious blueprint – which is a brainchild of the Tanzania Horticultural Association (Taha) – was launched during the Horticulture Business Forum and 15th Taha’s Annual General Meeting in Arusha at the weekend.

Arusha. Tanzania has rolled out a new grand strategy that will see the value of horticultural exports ballooning to $1 billion annually by 2026.

Netting the economy $779 million annually at the moment, horticulture strategically offers Tanzania a long-term potential to create decent jobs, generate windfall foreign exchange and boost the the country's poverty reduction reduction efforts.

The ambitious blueprint – which is a brainchild of the Tanzania Horticultural Association (Taha) – was launched during the Horticulture Business Forum and 15th Taha’s Annual General Meeting in Arusha at the weekend.

Gracing the event, Agriculture Minister Hussein Bashe directed his aides to work with the private sector to convene a national horticultural conference to deliberate the strategy - and consider adopting it.

The minister underlined the horticulture industry as central to the country’s economy, livelihoods and poverty reduction, particularly for women and youth.

The 45-page grand strategy seeks the joint efforts from public, private sectors and development partners to open up regional and international markets for horticulture in the coming five years.

Mr Bashe told stakeholders that his eyes were now set to unlock the $133 million worth Chinese avocado market with 1.4 billion consumers, after the two key markets of India and South Africa were recently opened up to bolster bilateral trade ties and bring higher returns to smallholder growers.

Taha’s blueprint builds on the elapsed plan (2017-2021), new opportunities and challenges facing the industry, and institutional set up of the organisation including reach out services to its members.

The plan will see over 2,000 metric tonnes of horticultural products exported come 2026, up from barely 850 metric tonnes exported in 2021.

The blueprint will spearhead the yield of avocados per acre to rise from 4,800kg in 2020 to 9,600kg by 2026, pineapples from 25,000kg to 36,000kg, passion fruits from 14,000kg to 19,600kg, mangoes from 5,850 to 8,190kg and bananas from 4,590 to 29,400kg.

The Taha Chief Eexecutive Oofficer, Ms Jacqueline Mkindi, said they will need to mobilise over $1 million worth of soft and long term loans for its members and other industry players to be able to invest and boost the yields.

Ms Mkindi said the entire blueprint execution requires at least $30 million to increase the global and local competitiveness towards a sustainable, resilient, and inclusive growth of horticulture industry.

Whereas Taha is optimistic that membership and service fees will cover 25 percent of the strategy costs, the lion’s share of the funds are expected from the key development partners.

The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA and the United States Agency for International Aid (USAID) contributed 29 percent of Taha’s outgoing strategic Plan (2017-2021) trailed by Sweden (24 percent), and UNDP, Trade Mark East Africa (TMEA) and TRIAS from Belgium and Andreas Hermes Akademie (AHA) (9 percent each).

The organisation had also attracted contributions from RIKOLTO from Belgium (7 per cent); EU, TRIAS and AHA (5 percent); Fintrack (2 percent); and Plan International, Finland, Taha members and others (1 percent each).

The blueprint tasks the industry to adapt changes and mitigate the impact of climate change by integrating environmental conservation aspects across activities to be implemented in a bid to promote a healthy and balanced ecosystem.

Taha will have to build the capacity of around 50,000 farmers in a new concept dubbed climate-smart-agriculture (CSA) and over 200 crop-based facilitators to promote the model and to transform horticultural activities into green and climate resilient practices.

The CSA practices aim at sustainably boosting agricultural productivity and incomes, adapting and building resilience to climate change and reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

The new plan also requires Taha to establish a market authority to coordinate all value chain actors and to improve produce handling facilities countrywide.

Taha will also have to collaborate with other partners in reducing post-harvest losses in key value chains by 70 percent in 2026, up from the 20 percent recorded in 2020.

Taha will carry out nutrition promotion to ensure that 70 percent of households embrace horticultural products - and, in so doing, expand the local market for the industry.