US injects Sh2.3 billion to boost Zanzibar horticulture sector

What you need to know:

  • The new program to strengthen Zanzibar’s horticulture market is expected to substantially increase economic opportunities in horticulture sector

Zanzibar. The US government in partnership with Zanzibar have unveiled a new programme to strengthening Zanzibar’s horticulture market systems and promoting.

Dubbed Feed the Future Tanzania Kilimo Tija Activity, the project is expected to increase economic opportunities in horticulture, with a special focus on empowering youth in Unguja and Pemba.

The Kilimo Tija project has budgeted Sh2.3 billion in support of the horticulture sector for Zanzibar in 2023/24 to drive economic development and lay the foundation for sustainable development and prosperity.

The project works with public and private sector associations, youth-led and women-focused institutions, and national and local government authorities to enhance the horticulture market system and unlock economic opportunities, particularly for youth.

The project is implemented through the US Agency for International Development (USAID).

The launching event was graced by the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Mr Zuberi Ali Maulid, ministers and USAID officials.

The programme highlighted the agency commitment to supporting horticulture economic growth in the isles.

USAID Tanzania Feed the Future coordinator, Dr Tor Edwards emphasized on the growing partnership for the two governments and horticulture sector success as witnessed in increasing supply of nutritious food and boosting the economic growth for Zanzibar.

“A decade ago, Zanzibar was importing most of its horticulture products from the mainland and other sources, but now almost 80 percent of horticulture products are produced in Zanzibar,” she said.

“Horticulture in Zanzibar is thriving as local farmers are increasingly providing the hotel industry with valuable horticultural products,” she added.

The launch event also included the handover of motorcycles and soil test kits to block extension officers working under the Ministry of Agriculture, Irrigation, Natural Resources, and Livestock in Zanzibar.

Targeting Tanzania's Southern Agricultural Growth Corridor of Tanzania “Sagcot” regions of Iringa, Mbeya, Morogoro, and Njombe, along with Zanzibar's Unguja and Pemba islands, USAID Kilimo Tija’s primary goal is to sustainably increase economic opportunities in horticulture market systems, with a special focus on including and empowering youth.

Over the course of the programme (Sept 2022-Sept 2027), the project expects to support 2,500 micro, small, and medium enterprises, and tens of thousands of smallholder farmers, especially youth.

The initiative also seeks to achieve a 15 percent annual revenue growth for the enterprises, over $100,000 in sales of produce from smallholder farmers, over $20 million in new investment leveraged, and the creation of at least 7,400 new jobs.