WEDNESDAY August 17, 2022
By Adam Ihucha
Tranquility News Correspondent, Tanzania
A fresh green-gold rush is rocking Tanzania, if a rapid influx of fortune seekers eyeing to venture into the horticulture industry is anything to go by.
TAHA Group, the key driver of the multi-million-dollar industry in the country, says the growing interest in horticulture has been catalysed by the urge to make quick but clean money among the youth.
“Our latest observation at Nane Nane agricultural show indicates that horticulture holds promise to the majority of young people and women, both employed and unemployed ones, as it generates decent wealth more quickly than other occupations,” the TAHA Group CEO, Dr Jacqueline Mkindi, says.
Indeed, experts say some horticultural crops taking as short period as three months to bear fruits is a key driving factor attracting the youth to venture into the industry.
No wonder in the course of the eight-day national agricultural fair dubbed Nane Nane, thousands had been flocking into the TAHA Group’s stalls, seeking an apt advice to make foray into the green-gold industry.
TAHA Group took part in the Nane Nane exhibitions in Arusha, Mbeya, Mwanza and Morogoro regions in Tanzania Mainland as well as in Unguja North Region in Zanzibar.
Its pavilions trained good agricultural practices to over 7,000 farmers and those eyeing to invest in horticulture farming.
“An influx of people to our booths and our engagement with them during the countrywide Nane Nane fair has given us a clear insight that horticulture is currently a major cash cow among youth, women and Small-Scale Enterprises (SMEs) seeking to employ themselves and make quick but clean returns,” Dr Mkindi observes.
The TAHA Group’s team was extremely busy training nearly 200 farmers, enthusiasts and SMEs daily, imparting on them cutting-edge climate smart agriculture technologies and procedures for accessing finance and markets.
“Our experts have also been carrying out presentations on nutrition education, investment opportunities in fruits and vegetable value chain and displaying the newly invented TAHA Group’s mobile kiosk,” Dr Mkindi explains.
The group had been awarded a highest prize in agriculture in 2022 for expanding the scope of the horticulture industry in the country.
During the climax of the Nane Nane show held at national level at John Mwakangale Grounds in Mbeya, Tanzania, TAHA was crowned the winner of the non-governmental organisations category, defeating all other non-state actors who participated in this year’s fair.
“Our climate resilient agriculture approach to help farmers to mitigate risks, reduce cultivation costs, increase productivity and to enhance their adaptive capacities is the secret behind the victory,” Dr Mkindi says in an interview with Tranquility News shortly after TAHA Group was declared winner before President Samia Suluhu Hassan who graced the climax of the Nane Nane fair.
TAHA enhances farm productivity and profitability, makes farming practices climate resilient and nature friendly, and works with the government and development partners in linking up horticultural communities with reliable markets, she says.
“Successfully reaching out thousands of farmers and enthusiasts in the eight-day stint and scooping the prestigious award wouldn’t be possible without a great support we receive from USAID, SIDA and EU, among other development partners,” the TAHA Chief revealed.
Development partners are supporting TAHA Group in implementing various projects, including the Commercial Horticulture for Transformed Economy by USAID, the Growing Wealth Through Horticulture by SIDA through the Swedish Embassy, and the Make it Grow, an EU funded horticulture sustainability and economic development project being implemented under AGRI- CONNECT in Zanzibar.
Established in 2004, the TAHA Group’s key focus areas has been improving business-enabling environment and access to markets, boosting productivity, creating competitiveness, promoting public-private partnerships and coordinating horticultural investments.
The organisation also establishes market support infrastructure, provides technical support services, promotes nutrition and gender equity and it engages youth and women in horticulture.
TAHA Group has, as a result, successfully nurtured the nascent horticulture into a multi-million-dollar sub-sector, winning a significant government’s recognition as a key industry of the economy.
It had brought together over 4.5 million both large-scale and smallholder farmers into a single bloc fortified by a common set of business-oriented interests.
Horticulture’s input to overall agrarian exports value has grown tremendously since and is poised for leaps and bounds.
The industry earns the economy nearly $800 million annually, up from around $100 million in 2006, making it a nascent undertaking to watch.