Tanzania's horticulture exports rise by 38%

Horticulture is gradually becoming a driving force not only to Arusha where the industry first cropped up, but to the entire agricultural sector, fresh data shows.

The input of the sub-sector to overall agrarian exports value grew by 38 per cent in 2014, as opposed to the previous year when it contributed 31 per cent, registering a 7 per cent increase during the period in review.

Horticulture brought home an extra $102 million in 2014, cementing its position as one of Tanzania’s major sources of foreign exchange earner alongside tourism, manufacturing and mining.

Data from Tanzania Revenue Authority shows $477 million worth of horticultural products were exported last year, up from $375 million in 2013, equivalent to 38 per cent of total agricultural exports valued at $1.18 billion.

Analysts say horticulture offers a glimpse of hope for the agricultural sector on the backdrop of the declining traditional export crops including coffee and cotton.

Tumaini University Senior Development Studies Lecturer Gasper Mpehongwa, says horticulture is a threat to the inflexible coffee crop.

“This suggests that the majority coffee growers have shifted their mind to horticulture, making the future of the traditional crop, which take years to yield with its prices controlled at the world market bleak,” Dr Mpehongwa says.

Coffee and cotton exports value dropped by 29 and 33 per cent, respectively, in the period under review, pushing agricultural exports value to $1.18 billion compared to $1.19 billion in 2013.

Latest economic review report by the Bank of Tanzania indicates coffee earnings declined from $171 million in 2013, to $121million last year, whereas cotton dropped from $111 million to $54 million.

Tanzania Horticultural Association (Taha) Policy and Advocacy manager Antony Chamanga says the sub-sector exported nearly 265,302 metric tonnes of products in 2014, compared to 256,429.1 metric tonnes in 2013.

Vegetables export volume and value ranked high, compared to spices, flowers, fruits and seeds.

The country exported nearly 203,921 metric tonnes of vegetables in 2014, earning the country $231 million, followed by 15,113 ethic tonnes of spices valued at $125.7 million, 12,226.4 metric tonnes of flowers which fetched $82 million.
The country, according to Taha’s database, also exported 6,440.6 metric tonnes of seeds, earning nearly $20 million and 27,601 metric tonnes of fruits valued at $19.2 million.

Taha chief executive officer, Jacqueline Mkindi, says the subsector has recorded an average annual growth of 11 per cent in the past six years.

“Horticulture has grown in leaps and bounds - from northern Tanzania to the southern highlands as well as Zanzibar,” she explains.

With an enabling environment and massive involvement of mostly women and youth farming at the moment, only the sky is the limit, she believes.
Source: The Citizen, reported by Adam Ihucha, from Arusha, Tanzania
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