Taha study reveals growing potential in fruit exports

What you need to know:

  • Over the past three years, the production of fruits registered a 24 percent growth, followed by vegetables which recorded 21 percent and flowers at five percent

Arusha. Fruits recorded the highest cumulative annual growth rate (CAGR) among the horticultural crops grown in the country.

Over the past three years, the production of fruits registered a 24 percent growth, followed by vegetables which recorded 21 percent.

Flowers had a cumulative production annual growth rate of a mere five percent, according to the Arusha-based Tanzania Horticultural Association (Taha).

Despite trailing fruits, vegetables has enabled Tanzania become among the 20 global producers of fresh vegetables, Taha’s policy analyst, Jerry Moshi, said recently.

This, he said, is according to FAOSTAT, a database facility of the United Nations Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO).

Mr Moshi was presenting a report entitled; Horticulture Performance in Tanzania to horticulture stakeholders.

While 6.5 million people are employed across the horticulture value chain, the sector had registered an annual growth of 7 percent until 2019.

According to the Bank of Tanzania (BoT), the country earned $289.6 million from horticultural exports in 2022.

That was, however, a drop from $378.6 million exported in the previous year, he explained.

The meeting was also attended by the Netherlands Ambassador to Tanzania Mr Wiebe de Boer who spoke and said Tanzania has a great potential in horticulture production. He added that horticultural farming was one of the solutions to the unemployment crisis among the youth.

He added that both smallholders and large horticulture estate owners must be equipped with the necessary agronomic and technical skills and knowledge to produce high value crops.

The export trends indicate that Tanzania exported 168,348 metric tonnes of horticulture crops in the financial year 2020/21 up from 111,823 tonnes in 2019/20.

In 2020/21, vegetables topped the list with 134,806 tonnes, followed by fruits (30,593 tonnes), flowers (2,751 tonnes) and spices 198 tonnes. Mr Moshi attributed the fast growth of the horticultural sub sector, especially before the outbreak of Covid-19, to increased quality assurance. Through GreenCert, the first certification body in horticulture, the industry has embraced Good Agricultural Practices (GAP).

“Four apex farmer groups in Arusha, Songwe, Mbeya and Kilimanjaro regions have received Global GAP certifications,” Mr Moshi noted.

While about 650 farmers in the four groups were trained on Global GAP certification, compliance costs have been cut down by 50 percent.

GAP is a farm assurance programme created in the late 1990s by several supermarket chains in Europe and is now one of the most widely implemented farm certification schemes.

Mr Moshi added that in boosting growth, efforts were now directed to support smallholders to produce more horticultural crops. “Our 2022-26 strategic plan is focused on increased productivity and sustainability to create more jobs,” he pointed out.

Improved capacity of farmers would increase productivity and competitiveness of Tanzanian horticultural products.

Ultimately, he told the agricultural sector players, this would increase markets for the country’s horticultural products.