MONDAY February 20, 2023
By Adam Ihucha
The Tranquility News Correspondent, Tanzania
The US may be miles away from Tanzania, but ‘love conquers mountains’. The adage has, indeed, become a reality.
American people’s generous support through their US Agency for International Development (USAID) has brought about a massive impact in the horticultural industry and livelihood to a critical mass of youth and women in Tanzania.
The USAID private sector-led approach has paid windfall dividends in unlocking the potential of horticulture, as a robust partnership between the agency and the horticulture’s key driver – TAHA has propelled the industry’s growth by leaps and bounds.
The USAID financial and technical support has transformed TAHA into a vibrant driving institution, leading to tremendous achievements in terms of rapid growth of the industry in Tanzania.
The partnership that spans 17 years has successfully managed to nurture the nascent horticulture into a multi-million-dollar industry, winning a significant recognition as a key industry of the economy by the government.
Latest official data speaks volumes on the growth of the industry, thanks largely to the USAID and TAHA Group’s partnership. Way back in 2006, there were less than 50 horticultural farmers in the country with insignificant production volumes for export markets.
Seventeen years later, TAHA, under the USAID support, has brought together over 6.5 million both large-scale and smallholders farmers into a single bloc fortified by a common set of business oriented interests.
With an annual growth rate of 11 per cent, the horticultural industry has turned into the growth driver of Tanzania’s stagnant agricultural sector, which grows by 4 per cent.
Horticulture’s input to overall agrarian exports value has grown by 30 per cent on average and the rate is poised to rise by leaps and bounds.
“TAHA Group proudly reports that the sub-sector earns the economy $779 million annually, up from around $64 million before the USAID intervention in 2006, making horticulture a nascent undertaking of the economy to watch at the moment,” the TAHA Chief Executive Officer, Dr Jacqueline Mkindi, said.
She further said that TAHA in collaboration with the government and development partners intended to spur horticulture industry to earn the economy $2 billion per year and create decent employment to a critical mass of youth and women along the entire value chain come 2030.
Briefing the Mission Director for USAID Tanzania, Ms Veeraya Kate Somvongsiri, on her maiden official tour to Arusha horticultural farmers to get a glimpse of experience on the ground, Dr Mkindi said big strides had, through direct engaged projects and sub-granted funding, been recorded in developing tailor-made good agricultural practices manuals.
The manuals have enabled TAHA agronomists to impart the skills to a critical mass of smallholder farmers and farmer co-operatives nationwide.
The USAID support also played a critical part in strengthening TAHA advocacy role for producers, traders, exporters, processors, and horticultural products nationally and internationally.
“Owing to the USAID backup, TAHA has been able to holistically tackle a myriad of challenges in terms of unfriend policies for the entire horticulture supply chain,” Dr Mkindi said.
The partnership has enabled TAHA to meet its key focus areas in improving the business enabling environment, increasing access to markets, and boosting productivity and competitiveness.
USAID also empowered TAHA to foster Public-Private Partnerships and horticultural investments, Market Information System, market support infrastructure, technical support service provision, nutrition and gender equity promotion and youth and women engagement in horticulture.
In her comment, the Mission Director for USAID Tanzania, Ms Veeraya Kate Somvongsiri, said she was pleased to see the massive impact brought about by the USAID and TAHA partnership.
“We’ve worked together for a long time, USAID, TAHA and I’m personally so pleased today for the opportunity to see the impact of this work on the ground. It’s so amazing to see young women who are engaging in horticulture farming, we bring youth into the industry, we unlock the potential for different types of products Tanzania has in store,” Ms Kate said.
She added: “We’re really trying to build up the economic capacity, the livelihood opportunities and youth and young women, such a wonderful collaboration! From the USAID perspective, we’re really pleased to see what is happening in Tanzania’s horticulture industry”Ω