The appeal was given by the Deputy Minister for Works, Transport and Communications Eng Atashasta Nditiye, who said if producers of the fresh products will decide to use internal airports; the country will save US $ 4,000 that is lost every year.
The Deputy Minister was speaking on Tuesday at the Kilimanjaro International airport (KIA) in Hai District, Kilimanjaro region when inspecting export of goods via the airport.
“In April this year, I came here to inaugurate Ethiopian Airlines cargo flights for our goods destined to foreign countries. You will notice that in the period of three months, we have exported 590 tonnes of cargo to European Union (EU) countries,” he said.
Eng Nditiye said as of now the government is having talks with one shipbuilding firm for the construction of a vessel in the Indian Ocean that will alleviate transport costs to exporters.
He said the government has removed challenges facing Dar es Salaam, Mtwara and Tanga ports, and citing Tanga port as example, he said it has been expanded and now the ships can anchor at the berth instead of far from the port.
Earlier, Acting Managing Director of Kilimanjaro Airport Development Company (KADCO) Mary Kimambo said they have expanded a special area for storage of perishable cargo especially horticultural products.
She said the three flights a week by Ethiopian Airlines have increased cargo exports, especially in regard to horticultural products as compared to passenger flights.
Kilimanjaro Regional Commissioner Dr Anna Mghwira asked the government to seek permission for converting passenger planes to cargo planes during the intervening period.
“We have been informed that Ethiopian Airlines converted one of their passenger planes to cargo plane, we should also seek permission to do the same as it will enable us to airlift all the cargo using our planes.
Agriculture Deputy Minister Hussein Bashe said recently that the government plans to revive farms to boost horticultural production and realise export potential of US $ 3 billion by 2025
Bashe said the government will revive the leading farms to bolster horticultural production and realise its annual export value from the current US $ 779 million.
The eight prime plantations with huge potential in flower and vegetable production which have been closed include Kiliflora (under receivership), Kombe Roses, Shira flowers, Allua Flowers, Zanziflora, Finlays, Flamingo and Arusha Blooms Ltd.