According to senior officials of the association, to date, neither the government nor local or foreign investors have shown interest in this strategically pivotal project that only requires Euro 310,200 (about 867m/-) to put up.
Consequently, AMAGRO members and the whole subsector at large continue to find it difficult to adequately exploit the available abundant export opportunities in regional and international export markets.
In 2016, world mangoes exports were worth US$2.3 billion (about 5.22trn/-), which was about 25 per cent of Tanzania’s total export earnings during the year. The trade was expected to hold a market value of over US$2 billion (about 4.54trn/-) in 2017 and top over US$4.2 billion (about 9.54bn/-) in 2027.
Already the lobby group has established ready markets for mangoes in Middle East countries, South Korea and Russia, where demand for fresh supplies of the fruit is very big. More external markets could be developed and exploited if a national strategy is formulated to make mango growing a lucrative business.
Current national mango output is 372,000 tonnes annually, which is very small compared to local and global demand of the fruit. It is also a tiny part of the iceberg when the potential to produce mangoes in Tanzania is taken into account.
AMAGRO has it that what we currently produce and supply to the world market is trivial as the current global demand for mangoes is about 100,000 tonnes a week. According to FreshPlaza, the number one portal for the fresh produce industry, the market for mangoes in the world has been growing by five per cent annually over the past ten years.
The absence of a pack house for mangoes and other fresh tropical fruits is therefore a lost opportunity for the national economy and the whole country at large in terms of stirring economic growth, boosting foreign exchange earnings and elevating our status in international trade.
More mango exports would lead to many direct and indirect economic and commercial gains such as expansion of output, which automatically would mean more jobs and increased incomes for many households. The more mangoes Tanzania produces the more demand for supporting services and in the processes of acquiring these more taxes would be paid to generate more revenue for the government.
In other words, the AMAGRO initiative has to be supported for more economic value to be derived from the mango subsector. For those who did not know, Tanzania is currently one of the fastest-growing mango export countries in the world.
The International Trade Centre (ITC), which is the joint agency of the World Trade Organisation and the United Nations, lists Tanzania among countries with big potential to become top exporters of mangoes if the trade is adequately and rightly supported.
Tanzania is ranked third in the list, which identifies exporters with the fastest-growing international sales of mangoes from 2012 to 2016, after Cambodia and Uganda. ITC also ranks Tanzania 9th among top mango exporters in Africa saying that it earned US$1.8 million (about 4.09bn/-) from the trade in 2016 when the whole continent exported mangoes worth US$214 million.
India is currently the leading mango producer in the world with an annual output of 16,337,400 tonnes. That is about 44 times the 372,000 tonnes currently produced in Tanzania, which means we still have a lot to do to meaningfully benefit from the subsector.