Chogo says committed to back smallholder grapefarmers turn commercial

08Nov 2021
By Guardian Reporter
The Guardian
Chogo says committed to back smallholder grapefarmers turn commercial

IN a bid to ensure that smallholder grape farmers who provide the raw material used in wine making, Tanzania Distilleries Limited will continue investing in the group improves on quality and yields.

Minister of Agriculture, Professor Adolf Mkenda (R) listening from TDL’s sales manager, Mwesige Mchuruza when he visited the company's pavilion last week’s Dodoma Wine Festival and Exhibition held in the new capital last week. Photo: Guardian Correspondent.

TDL’s General Manager, Timea Chogo said the Tanzania Breweries Limited’s subsidiary is committed to ensure that the grape farmers who constitute its supply chain, are skilled, connected and financially empowered so that they can have better livelihoods whilst the distiller continues to have access to high-quality grapes.

Chogo made the remarks during a wine festival held in Dodoma last week where TDL sponsored the two days event that brought together grape farmers, winemakers, consumers and stakeholders forming the supply chain.

“Tanzania Distilleries Limited works in partnership with over 700 farmers who cultivate grapes that are processed into our various ranges of wines. A contract-farming pilot project was launched earlier this year which will hopefully lead to a scalable model that can be reproduced across Tanzania,” Chogo said.

She noted that the contracted farmers benefit from market-related off-take agreements, linkage with financial institutions, chemical and fertilizer suppliers but also receive training in good agriculture practices from South African experts.

She explained that in order to ensure that farmers are skilled, agronomic support is provided from TBL’s viticulturist and agronomic team; grape research trials take place with AB InBev’s R&D team and Tanzanian Agricultural Research Institute.

“The whole process means that the farmers are also given grape cultivation guidelines through use of SMS which provides farmers access to agronomic and market information,” the TDL chief executive noted.

During the wine festival participants and visitors learned about the history of winemaking in Dodoma, types of grapes and farming procedures. The country has more than 60 unique local wine brands. TDL's brands include Dodoma Dry Red, Dodoma Dry White, Dodoma Natural Sweet and Dodoma Rosé. Under its fortified wines brand, Imagi, TDL has two brands, namely, Imagi Fortified Sweet Red and Imagi Fortified Sweet White.

 TDL’s vision for the Tanzanian wine industry is to support smallholder talented farmers to enable them become large scale commercial producers of the high-quality grapes that the distiller will use to produce internationally competitive wines.