Mango growers in Handeni District are being mobilised to harvest and export fruits now, with the assurance of a huge market in the Middle East.
Beatus Malema, Assistant Director, Crop Promotion Section in the ministry of Agriculture, Food Security and Cooperatives said that the launch was held recently at Kabuku Mayunga farm at Chanika Coffee village in Tanga Region where there are 400 acres of land under mango production.
He said the ministry decided to launch the season for mango export because right now members of the Association of Mango Growers in Tanzania (AMAGRO) have a market in the Middle East, including Oman.
“As Director I’m very pleased to see how the mango growers have shifted from the subsistence agriculture to modern commercial farming,” he said, noting that they were producing high quality mangoes for export, helping the country to increase foreign currency earnings.
He said the launch was part of a wider programme to help farmers export quality produce, revealing that the ministry has provided 1.0 billion/- to the Tanzania Horticultural Association (TAHA) to build collection centres in Njombe, Morogoro, Tanga and Arusha regions.
The centres to be built by the ministry in collaboration with TAHA will help farmers to preserve their horticulture crops, sorting and grading, packaging and marketing.
According to him, the collection centres will be accessible to all farmers who would be well organised or join into groups.
He said the ministry would soon establish horticulture demonstration farms in Iringa, Morogoro, Coast, Tanga, Arusha, Kilimanjaro, and Njombe regions for educating farmers on improved husbandry.
The ministry acknowledged the contribution of the horticultural sector to food security and economic growth, saying it has as a result provided training on mango production and conservation.
It said AMAGRO members have been trained on production of mango seedlings.
Produce mango seedlings through Agricultural Seed Agency (ASA), provide 4 water pumps to the groups that produce seedlings of different crops, he said noting that among those pumps one was donated to AMAGRO so that they can use it in their mango production.
He said that in 2010/2011 production of mangoes, oranges, pineapples, and other fruits rose from 3.75 million tons to 3.94 million. Vegetable production rose from 858,740 tons to 901,680 tons of vegetable while flower output increased from 9,100 tons to 9,850 tons. Spice production rose from 7,150 tons to 7,370 tons in 2011.
Meanwhile Kasili Boman a farm from Kabuku Mayunga farm noted that water shortage, powdery mildew, anthracnose, female fruit flies namely Bactrocera Invadens are the main causes of low production of mango fruits this year.
“For example this year, we may lose 30 per cent of mango production due to water shortage and diseases,” he said, noting that they have asked the ministry to help the farmers fight the obstacles which could affect their export orders.