The Tanzania Horticultural Association (Taha) will set up a processing and packaging facility at the Kilimanjaro International Airport (KIA). The airport is the main exit point for export of horticultural products, mainly cut flowers, to markets abroad.
Ms Jacquiline Mkindi, Taha executive director, said the facility will be used to process and pack fresh produce ready for exports to overseas markets.
She could not give further details but said the decision on the packaging centre was among the issues agreed upon during Taha members’ meeting held here last Friday.
About 200 tonnes of fresh horticultural produce are air freighted each week to markets abroad, mainly Europe, through KIA, Julius Nyerere International Airport in Dar es Salaam and Nairobi’s Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA).
A designated cargo aircraft, which started ferrying horticultural produce from KIA in December last year, has been carrying about 20 tonnes a week.
Taha members, most of who are based in Arusha and Kilimanjaro regions, sell flowers and other horticultural products worth about $50 million each year to markets abroad.
The whole horticulture industry exports, including those from non-Taha members, are estimated at $150m a year.
A five-year strategic plan unveiled by the association recently targets exports of $1bn horticultural products per year.
The association, formed in 2004, has 118 members. Most of them are commercial farmers growing flowers and fruits, but of late its membership has included vegetable growers as well as small holder farmers.
“We can see the industry transforming to greater heights. Next year, we will see vegetable exports to buyers overseas from Tanzania,” Ms Mkindi said in an interview.
She said the association would soon open two new zonal centres in Tanga’s Lushoto district and Iringa or Mbeya for the southern highlands.
Source: The Citizen (26 November 2009)