Tanzania airports costly: flower dealer

Exporting fresh produce directly from Tanzania to Europe is more expensive than doing it via Kenya, a situation that adversely affects dealers in horticultural products.

The reason pointed out for this state of affairs is Tanzania having fewer direct flights between its major airports and Europe compared to Kenya, according to HomeVeg Tanzania director Machel Tarimo.

As a result, most horticultural products from Tanzania pass through Kenya’s Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA) from where they are transported to the European markets.

“To route our produce from Arusha to Nairobi we have to incur extra costs of between $600 and $800,” he said.

According to him, currently Kilimanjaro International Airport (KIA) is only able to handle 12 tonnes twice per week, while the company plans to increase exports which will mean incurring more costs.

Airfreight charges at both KIA and Dar es Salaam’s Julius Nyerere International Airport (JNIA) are unfavourable for crop exports, he said.

A report by Economic Social and Research Foundation (ESRF) revealed that high cost of jet fuel and limited number of passenger air freights and cargo airlines landing at the airports are usually shifted to the exporters.

Mr Michael said since 2009, they have been exporting fresh vegetables to Belgium. They are also exported to the UK.

He said that they have more than 2,000 growers in their value chain producing about 12 tonnes every week during a high production season.

Over 80 per cent of the firm’s mangetout, sugarsnaps, fine beans fresno and purple passion fruits comes from smallholder farmers in Kilimanjaro, Lushoto and Meru.

They also have to contend with the high cost of imported packaging materials. Unreliable power supply and poor extension services from the government to build the capacity of farmers is another challenge.
Source: The Citizen, reported by Rosemary Mirondo from Dar es Salaam, Tanzania
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