Zanzibar, Taha on a mission to promote horticulture in isles

What you need to know:

  • The agreement calls for the development of a complete cold-chain management system, cutting-edge storage facilities, and an effective logistics system in Zanzibar to accommodate high-value crops and other perishables bound for expert markets

Arusha. Zanzibar and the Tanzania Horticultural Association (Taha) will work together to unleash the potential of the horticulture industry in the archipelago.

They have agreed to boost horticultural crop yield as a key area of focus, to satisfy domestic and export markets as they seek to generate more foreign currency and jobs for youth and women.

The accord entails creating a full-fledged cold-chain management system, state-of-the-art storage facilities, and an efficient logistics system in Zanzibar to serve high-value crops and other perishables destined for export markets.

The deal was sealed in Arusha between the Zanzibar Minister of Agriculture, Irrigation, Natural Resources and Livestock, Mr Shamata Shaame Khamis, and Taha management under its CEO, Ms Jacqueline Mkindi.

Minister Khamis was on a familiarisation tour at the headquarters of TAHA in Arusha city to explore areas of collaboration to spur the horticulture industry in Zanzibar.

In general terms, the pact will see Taha replicating its model of operations from Tanzania’s mainland to the Zanzibar archipelago, including participating in various agricultural exhibitions in order to educate the masses, particularly the youth and women, on horticultural farming and its economic benefits.

Mr Khamis extolled Taha for the crucial role it has been playing in developing the horticulture industry in Zanzibar for over a decade now. Ms Mkindi informed the Minister that her organisation’s logistic arm, Taha Fresh Handling Ltd., was currently working in Zanzibar, after acquiring full registration.

Fresh data shows that Taha-supported farmers in Zanzibar have witnessed harvests in horticulture swelling 100 percent in a decade, the highest ratio indeed in a stagnant agricultural sector, offering a ray of hope for growers and the economy.

For instance, incredible growth in horticultural production in Zanzibar has enabled Zanzibar to graduate from being a net importer of fruits and vegetables from Tanzania mainland in 2013 to an exporter.

Zanzibar used to import 80 percent of its fruits and vegetables from Tanzania mainland in 2013, but now it imports around 20 percent of the specific crops for specified diets for tourists.

Production of crops such as tomatoes, cucumber, watermelon and sweet pepper has swelled in the past 10 years, prompting Zanzibar to cut crop imports from as much as 80 percent in 2013 to merely 20 percent of specified crops for tourists from Tanzania mainland.

The statistics show that in 2018, Zanzibar farmers exported a combined surplus of 507 metric tonnes of tomatoes to the mainland, fetching a cool Sh1.2 billion, thanks to Taha’s total transformation of horticulture in the Isles.