Taha Group CEO, Dr Jacqueline Mkindi who led a delegation of the association’s members to the just ended Fruit Logistica, the world’s premier fruits and vegetables fair held in Berlin, Germany, said last week that their participation has opened up new avenues.
“We are simply blessed because our local producers and exporters have closed a number of lucrative deals with overseas buyers at the Fruit Logistica show,” Dr Mkindi said upon her arrival. She poited out that international buyers who were keen on quality and quantity fell in love with locally grown avocados, raspberries, lime and high value vegetables which offers opportunities to local farmers and exporters.
At the Fruit Logistica fair, 15 producers and exporting companies represented the country, under the umbrella of Taha and showcased home-grown fruits and vegetables which also included French beans, peas, baby carrots, sweet melon, spices and herbs like ginger, assorted chilli and mint.
“Apart from signing several strategic partnerships with global horticulture clients on a win win situation, we also marketed Tanzania as a land of myriad opportunities for producing and exporting horticulture produce,” the Taha chief added.
Buyers were also impressed by the capacity of Taha Fresh Handling Limited, a local logistic company which handles horticultural commodities from the country being exported to various destinations across the world.
Taha Fresh which is a subsidiary of Taha Group, is an official member of World Cargo Alliance (WCA) network. The WCA is the world’s most powerful lobby of independent freight forwarders with more than 6,473 members in 789 cities and ports worldwide.
Taha Fresh is also part of the 6,473 freight forwarders who are present in over 190 countries worldwide. Dr Mkindi said her next biggest task is to empower producers to increase production of quality horticultural produce to satisfy international market demands and standards.
She further added that the association has signed a partnership agreement with the Europe-Africa-Caribbean-Pacific Liaison Committee (COLEACP) to bridge skills gap in collaboration with Nelson Mandela African Institution of Science and Technology (NM-AIST) and World Vegetable Centre.
COLEACP is an international network promoting sustainable horticultural trade with an objective to actively contribute to the sustainable horticultural trade between ACP-countries and the European Union. “We also have fruitful talks with the GlobalGAP with who we agreed to formalize our partnership to pave way for the organization to build Taha capacity on standards issues,” she underlined.
Last year, the global standard setting body accredited Taha to ensure local growers produce in compliance with international market benchmarks. Currently, Taha is a Global Good Agricultural Practice (Global GAP) “Licensed Farm Assurer Company,” breathing life into millions of local fresh produces to meet the international stringent safety standards for commodities.
The Global GAP’s move to entrust Taha with the task of carrying out the certifications means that doors are now open for millions of Tanzanian farmers and exporters to exploit global markets.
“The benefits of having Global GAP certification include access to new business opportunities, especially in the European market that consumes 80 percent of local horticultural produce, which translates into higher income earnings because of their certification.
Currently, the industry earns the economy over $700 million annually, up from $60 million in 2004, making horticulture a lucrative enterprise with spill over effects such as creating jobs and wealth, as said by Taha Chief Development Manager, Anthony Chamanga.
Thanks to TAHA’s painstaking efforts to position the nation as a leading producer and exporter in the region with over 2.5 million both large-scale and smallholders farmers moulded into a single bloc fortified by a common set of business oriented interests.
With an annual growth rate of 12 percent, the industry has turned into a growth driver of the entire agriculture sector which has an average growth rate of only 4 percent per annum. “Horticulture’s input to overall agrarian exports value has increased by 30 percent on average I recent years,” Chamanga noted.