Horticulture industry attracts U$30 million in foreign

02Jul 2020
The Guardian Reporter
arusha
The Guardian
Horticulture industry attracts U$30 million in foreign

THE money minting horticulture industry which earns the country over U$770 million per annum has attracted U$30 million worth of foreign direct investments in the last four years.

Minister of state in the Prime Minister's Office responsible for investments, Angellah Kairuki (R) with Taha Group’s CEO, Dr Jacqueline Mkindi on a familiarization tour to horticulture farms in Arusha this week. Photo courtesy of Taha.

At a meeting with Tanzania Horticultural Association staff in Arusha earlier this week, Minister of State in the Prime Minister's Office responsible for Investments, Angellah Kairuki said the FDI flow of the past four years is a clear sign of investor’s growing interest in the industry.

“We are impressed with Taha for working closely with the government to develop the horticulture industry in the country to the extent of being attractive to foreign investors,” Kairuki said adding that the government is reviewing national investment laws and regulations to accommodate and reflect the current situation, as part of measures to create a conducive environment for investments.

“In the 2020/21 budget, we have scrapped several fees and levies totalling to 60 of them in our efforts to improve the doing business environment in the agriculture sector. We hope this tax relief will translate into the competitiveness of our commodities,” she noted.

Experts say that FDI has played a very significant role in increasing growth of the horticulture industry by importing technological and expertise needed. “It’s no surprise, the horticulture export value increased from U$64 million in 2004 to U$779 in 2019,” said Taha’s Group CEO, Dr Jacqueline Mkindi while briefing Kairuki.

As more private investors jump into the industry, growth will continue to skyrocket with Dr Mkindi stating that horticulture has a potential of generating up U$3 billion in revenue for the country per annum.

Way back in 2004, there were less than 50 horticultural farmers in the country with insignificant production volumes for export markets. Nearly 16 years later, Taha has brought together over 4.5 million both large scale and smallholder farmers into a single bloc.

With an annual growth rate of 11 percent, the horticultural industry has turned into the growth driver of the entire Tanzania’s agriculture. Its input to overall agrarian exports value has grown by 30 percent on average

 Fresh data shows that Taha supported farmers in the country have witnessed harvests in horticulture increasing by between 300 and 400 percent in a decade. An example is that of onion growers who have recorded substantial yields from previous 200 to 700 crates per acre per season over the period under review, TAHA’s statistics indicates.

The data further shows incredible growth in horticultural production in Zanzibar, leading to the decrease of imports of fruits and vegetables from the Mainland from 80 percent in 2013 to 40 percent currently.

Production of crops such as tomatoes, cucumber, watermelon and sweet pepper has swelled by over 400 percent in the past six years, prompting Zanzibar to graduate from being a net importer of tomato from Tanzania mainland to exporter. Official statistics show that in 2018, Zanzibar farmers exported a combined surplus of 507 metric tonnes of tomatoes to the Mainland, fetching over 1.2bn/-.