The Small Industries Development Organization (SIDO) Regional Manager for Geita Region, Jalphary Donge told ‘Smart Money’ that they embarked on the programme after discovering that farmers have been working hard to cultivate pineapple and other fruits but were lacking a reliable market.
Through processing, farmers have begun to produce different products from the fruits including wine, jam, juice and slices which they sell in the domestic market.
“Pineapples are very popular among consumers and they are now availability in the form of juice or slices throughout the year in the region,” Doge said pointing out that through the programme, farmers are benefitting fully from their produce.
In a bid to help them meet international standards, SIDO-Geita has begun to help them add value and certify their products for exports to international markets as well.
Highlighting on pineapple production in the region, he said, Geita produces more than 27,600 metric tonnes of pineapples per year from 769 acres of land allocated for the crop in the region.
Although production is very high, farmers are not earning enough from what they invest and this has been contributed by poor post harvest management practices and lack of reliable markets.
The training which was conducted in September this year involved 25 members of Ushirika wa Wakulima wa Matunda, Mbogamboga na Uhifadhi wa Mazingira Igata (UWAMAMI) and another 25 none member growers so they could fine tune themselves into agribusiness through adopting of skills and technology to add value to the fruits.
SIDO’s Director General, Prof Sylvester Mpanduji commended Geita regional leaders for setting aside surveyed land for the cultivation of pineapples which have become a major source of income and nutrients for residents of the Lake Zone mineral rich region.