Cash in on green gold, USAID inspires Dar youth, women

Tanzanian youth have been jumping into the horticulture bandwagon in hundreds lately

SUNDAY June 25, 2023

The USAID global Administrator, Ms Samantha Power (Left), shares a light moment with Dr Jacqueline Mkindi, the chief executive officer of TAHA, an umbrella organisation of growers of horticultural crops in Tanzania. Ms Power recently visited horticultural farmers at a site belonging to TAHA at Ilkiding’a area in Arusha Region. PHOTOS | COURTESY

By Patty Magubira

The Tranquility News Reporter, Tanzania

A joint bid involving the government, USAID and the TAHA to create youth and female millionaires through horticulture is slowly, but surely becoming a dream come true in Tanzania.

Mr Losim Nairouwa, an Insurance and Risk Management degree holder from the Institute of Finance Management based in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, began farming tomatoes in 2016.

The idea of farming creeped into his mind ever since he was at the institute where he started seeking information on his would-be career only to find himself linked up with TAHA – Tanzania’s umbrella organisation of horticultural crops growers.

Immediately after he accomplished his studies, he sold his idea to his kith and kin, who had successfully raised a capital for him to hire a one-acre farm, with TAHA providing him with a package of training on good agricultural practices and climate smart irrigation technology.

“After few seasons, I expanded my tomato farm to five acres before I bought my own 10-acre farm at Shambarai Village at Mbuguni area in Arusha (Tanzania),” he says.

Mr Losim Nairouwa (Left), an Insurance and Risk Management expert engaging in tomato production, briefs the USAID global Administrator, Ms Samantha Power, on ups and downs of the industry in Tanzania as the chief executive officer of TAHA that groomed him, Dr Jacqueline Mind (Centre), looks on.

As we speak, Mr Nairouwa is harvesting 600 crates of tomato per acre fetching him between $15 and $26 per crate each season, depending on the demand of the crop.

Mr Nairouwa, whose plan is to expand his tomato farm to 300 acres, says the price of the crop sometimes rises up to $52.2 per crate.

Mr Nairouwa is just one of hundreds of youth jumping into the horticulture bandwagon, which is steadily being crowded.

Thanks to the solid tripartite partnership that dates back to 2008 for continuing to create an enabling environment and empower youth and women to invest in the horticultural industry and the agricultural sector at large.

“We think that capacity for agriculture will bring about significant increases in the capital wealth and in economic growth and to account for larger share of GDP (gross domestic product),” observes the USAID global Administrator, Ms Samantha Power.

The USAID global Administrator, Ms Samantha Power, announces $5 million worth support USAID has extended to Tanzania’s agricultural sector in Arusha Region recently.

Ms Power says USAID acknowledges investment the Tanzania government is making in agriculture, believing it will turn youth into farmers, given the sector’s huge potential for creating employment opportunities and enhancing food security, capital wealth and larger share of GDP growth.

Ms Power visited some horticultural farmers at a site belonging to TAHA at Ilkiding’a area in Arusha, Tanzania, recently, to hear about achievements and challenges they face.

She also met youth who are performing well in horticulture as well as those involved in the government’s Build Better Tomorrow initiative of which TAHA is also part.

The farmers told Ms Power benefits and support they get from the government, including a subsidy programme reducing production costs.

“We at USAID see Samia Administration’s ambition to attract and empower youth and women to join the agricultural sector, we also see the commitment young people and female smallholder farmers make to the sector,” Ms Power admits.

We at USAID see Samia Administration’s ambition to attract and empower youth and women to join the agricultural sector, we also see the commitment young people and female smallholder farmers make to the sector,” the USAID global Administrator, Ms Samantha Power.

USAID will invest $5 million in irrigation systems, seed technology, storage facilities to reduce post-harvest losses, farm inputs, mechanisation and technologies for contending with effects of climate change, she pledges.

Nearly nine months ago, USAID pumped $14 million into the agricultural sector in the country in the partnership’s bid to enhance food security and spur economic growth in the East African country.

The tripartite partnership will also ensure the private sector plays its critical role of processing food to reduce post-harvest losses.

In addition, it will put in place information systems to map locations farmers harvest crops at a particular time for agribusinesses, shopkeepers or individuals active in the market to collect produces at an appropriate time.

Ms Power believes information systems, efficiencies coupled with technologies will go a long way in preventing perishables from being locked up in the sun for too long and being spoiled.

The USAID global Administrator, Ms Samantha Power (Right), listens to one of the over 800 Tanzanian youth engaged the ambitious Build Better Tomorrow initiative which the Tanzania government is jointly implementing with TAHA. The initiative will see the youth secure a 10-acre farm in Dodoma Capital for agricultural production. Looking on Second Right is the TAHA chief executive officer, Dr Jacqueline Mkindi.

USAID, if asked, can send to the Tanzanian farmers a lot of learning it has gathered from the American farming sector and around the world.

Ms Power promises that USAID will continue working with TAHA in scaling crops storage technologies and information systems countrywide, commending TAHA for having grown from five to 18,000 personnel in 17 years of the partnership.

Dr Jacqueline Mkindi, the TAHA chief executive officer and Chairperson of the association’s commercial wings, says one of the benefits the horticultural industry got from the partnership is the inception of TAHAFresh aimed at resolving logistics challenges.

The partnership sent to Tanzania the first cargo plane with the capacity of carrying 100 tonnes. “We have managed to resolve transport challenges, we are now proud of our own logistics firm,” Dr Mkindi says.

The partnership has also enabled TAHA to reach out to farmers countrywide and resolve numerous business nuisances between Tanzania and horticultural markets.

The Mission Director for USAID Tanzania, Ms Veeraya Kate Somvongsiri, admires tomatoes when she visited some horticultural farmers in Arusha in the past. PHOTO | FILE

Dr Mkindi promises all players in the industry that TAHA will continue advocating for horticulture and opening up new markets.

“We’re capable of taking the partnership with the government, USAID and other players, including EU, Sweden and UNDP, to the next level,” she says.

Meanwhile, Dr Mkindi says TAHA and the government have jointly devised Agenda 2030, targeting to export Sh5 billion worth of perishables come 2030.

The Agenda 2030 is currently striving to export horticultural crops valued at Sh2 billion in five year’s period, up from about Sh1 billion exported at the moment.

“Given the prevailing opportunities and the government’s commitment to support horticulture and agriculture at large, we believe we can reach and surpass the target,” Dr Mkindi explains.

Tanzania’s President Samia Suluhu Hassan sits in the cockpit of the new Boeing 767-300F cargo jet the government purchased for the Air Tanzania Company Limited recently. PHOTO | THE CITIZEN

In fact, the Tanzania government has just received the country’s first cargo plane with a carrying capacity of 54 tonnes to haul flowers, fruits, vegetables, spices and other perishable goods, including fish fillet, seafood, decorative fish and meat, directly to the market.

The government has also allocated funds for the constructing and improving cold warehouses at strategic airports and harbours to facilitate collection and handling of cargo destined for export.

“We’re the largest customers of the cargo plane, we will closely work with ATLC (Air Tanzania Company Limited) and the Transport Ministry to ensure our crops are exported through the plane,” Dr Mkindi says.

Prof Makame Mbarawa, the Tanzania’s Works and Transport Minister, is quoted as saying the country produces an average of 24,971 tonnes of perishable goods a year, mostly airlifted to the European and Asian markets, namely India, France, Germany, The Netherlands, Greece, Spain, Cyprus, Romania and Malta.

Nevertheless, barely 1.7 per cent of the cargo, equivalent to 420 tonnes, are transported through local airports and harboursΩ

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