Women Boosting Tanzania’s Economy
Horticulture is gradually becoming popular, not only in Arusha where the industry first took roots, but also across Tanzania’s entire agricultural sector. Principal Agricultural Officer in the Ministry of Agriculture, Food Security and Cooperatives, Mr. Merius Nzalawale says a project supervised by Helvetas Organisation and supported by European Union is a big one.
“Singida must be proud of the project, it must be sustained for the coming generations,” said Mr.Nzalawahe.
He said that horticulture in Tanzania earns more than 2 trillion/ in revenue from horticulture.
It is a grace for Singida women entrepreneurs to take up this advantage to boost the region’s economy. Horticulture is divided into four branches namely, fruit, vegetable, spice and flower production all of which earn foreign exchange for the nation.
“The input of the sub-sector to overall agrarian exports value grew 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,” said Mr Nzalawahe.
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 show $477 million worth of horticultural products were exported last year, up from $375 million in 2013, equivalent to 38 percent of total agricultural exports valued at $1.18 billion.
Analysts say horticulture offers a glimmer of hope for the agricultural sector on the backdrop of declining traditional export crops including coffee and cotton.
“This suggests that the majority coffee growers have shifted their mind to horticulture, making the future of the traditional crop, which takes years to yield with its prices controlled at the world market bleak,” Mr Nzalawahe an expert on horticultural crops says.
Coffee and cotton exports value dropped 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 $121 million last year, whereas cotton dropped from $111 million to $54 million. He said 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 metric tonnes of spices valued at $125.7 million, 12,226.4 metric tonnes of flowers which fetched $82 million.
Helvetas Assistant Country Director, Mr Daniel Kalimbia said that his organisation saw the importance of having EU project to empower women entrepreneurs who, through this project will be the trainer of trainers down to grassroots level.
The small scale vegetable producers and value chain actors are capacitated in crosscutting to contribution issues to improving linkages between vegetable value chain actors. Mr Kalimbia says the aim of the organisation is to strengthen technical service provision and input supply chains at public and private levels.
This includes awareness on Tanzania Horticulture Development Strategy to 211 local government officials, 7 organizations, and at least 2,500 producers, and hands on training of 2,500 producers, 50 traders, and 18 agro-dealers.
According to Singida Regional Administrative Secretary’s Representative, Mr Charles Kidau, horticulture challenges in the region is facing low productivity owing to the fact that farmers are not adhered to the better farming principles.
This is particularly the fault use of farm inputs and pesticides, the scarcity of extension officers and lack of assurance of onion, spices and tomato markets as well as low participation of women in different issues pertaining to development, including horticulture.
The Ministry of Finance’s representative, Mr Godlove Stephen says over 30 bn/- was disbursed to facilitate completion of this programme, with a target to increase horticultural productivity to boost income for women, large and small entrepreneurs.
Packaging material for agricultural products was a challenge and the government efforts were made to facilitate a farmers group project on the packaging and to make farmers attain international standards.
The call aimed to tell farmers that support from Helvetas should be accompanied with hardworking people as so doing would be an opportunity to local women group farmers to extend business of horticulture in Singida as well as the cross country.
Ms Fatuma Shaaban (40) a resident of Sangare women group that consists of three groups of Sangare, Muungano and Nufaika says they are benefiting from the groups after facilitation.
The project has enabled them to improve their livelihoods . Ms Fatuma joined the group project in 2,000, the project has enabled them to get a traditional pump for irrigation. Ms Mwanahamisi Jumanne (43) of the same village said the project has since helped them on the issue of development.
Ms Mwahija Juma (23) a resident of Mandewa village in Singida Urban says they like the project because it is a saviour to marginalised people in Singida.
Tanzania News via Tanzania Horticulture