Dar es Salaam: Tanzania's horticulture industry is set to produce about US $1 billion revenue in the next three to five years from the export of horticultural product. According to Ms Jacquline Mkindi, the Executive Director for Tanzania Horticultural Association (TAHA), the US $1 billion will be reached from the strategies which the industry has set to target. "This means extending our footprints to the heart of Middle East and Japan," she said.
Ms Mkindi said the vegetable and fruits subsectors are the main strategic sectors that will champion the expansion in these new markets.
"We did research on the potential of the Middle East and Japan markets. We found that expanding to these market will add value to the industry," said Ms Mkindi.
And already serious discussions are underway with buyers in the Middle East, some of them with businesses in Tanzania.
Ms Mkindi said the industry has set seven pillars which will spine the plan to raise revenue from export as well as provide about 500,000 jobs. The pillars including, promotion of horticulture markets and investment, to support farmers to get affordable finance, and to address infrastructure to farms (identification of infrastructure).
Others include linkage of actors that are connected to horticulture industry, and mobilize human interest.
Ms Mkindi added that the biggest market which the industry depends on is Europe and the Middle East. "We also depend much on the regional market, Southern African Development Community (SADC) in particular," she noted.
The Deputy Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Agriculture Food Security and Cooperative, Mr. Mbogo Mfutakamba told the East African Business Week in Dar es Salaam that the government had supported the horticulture industry in areas of technology and research.
"Through research institutions like Tengelu in Arusha have developed improved seeds," said Mr. Mfutakamba, adding "The government is set to provide sprinklers irrigation in horticultural farms all over the country so as to increase the capacity of the industry."
According to Mfutakamba, the government has spent out about US $125, 000 (Tsh200 million) for the horticulture sector which was directed to the transportation, production and mobilization. Horticulture is recognized as an engine for socio-economic growth and a significant contributor in poverty alleviation mainly in the rural areas.
Currently the industry generates more than US$350 million per year and it offers direct employment to about 350,000 Tanzanians. Ms Mkindi added that the growth rate for the horticulture industry is currently standing at 8-10% per annum.