THURSDAY October 19, 2022
By Adam Ihucha
Tranquility News Correspondent, Zanzibar
An all-round approach of a key driver of Tanzania’s horticultural industry has won the heart and mind of the UN Under-Secretary-General and Women Executive Director, Ms Sima Sami Bahous.
TAHA Group, a strategic UN-Women partner, is credited for innovating a comprehensive concept of inclusive horticulture farming, climate-smart agricultural technology transfer, good agricultural practices and market access meant for lifting rural women from abject poverty to prosperous lives in the country.
“I’m stunned by the TAHA Group’s all-round approach of empowering rural women through horticulture, while protecting nature by using the climate-smart agricultural technologies,” Ms Bahous admitted.
Ms Bahous had a brief field tour of Kimbojo and Shukrani Zetu women groups engaging in horticulture farming under the TAHA Group’s support at Kitongani in South Region in Ugunja, Zanzibar, to experience the rural women empowerment initiatives recently.
“This approach is certainly an integral practice embedded in all dimensions of gender equality, inclusiveness and sustainable development,” the UN-Women Chief added.
Ms Bahous passionately called on Zanzibar rural women to produce high quality and volume horticultural crops in order to spawn substantial income and spur rural economic development.
Earlier at the launch of a five-year ambitious programme dubbed Accelerating Progress Towards Rural Women’s Economic Empowerment Project, the UN-Women Chief said:
“It is clear that rural women are facing a number of challenges that are impacting their ability to increase their productivity and incomes. We need to step up our support now and in future to address these challenges and support rural women’s pathways to progress.”
Financed by Norway and Sweden, the $5-million project is billed to secure livelihoods of over 8,000 rural women in Singida and Dodoma regions as well as in Zanzibar through their resilience in the agricultural sector.
The TAHA Group CEO, Dr Jacqueline Mkindi, who hosted both the UN-Women Chief and the UN-Women representative to Tanzania, Ms Hodan Addou, in their familiarisation tour of Zanzibar, said:
“I’m stunned by the TAHA Group’s all-round approach of empowering rural women through horticulture, while protecting nature by using the climate-smart agricultural technologies,” the UN Under-Secretary-General and Women Executive Director, Ms Sima Sami Bahous.
“It’s a profound privilege, indeed, for TAHA Group to host the dignified UN-Women mission. It is a vote of confidence that offers us a new impetus in our struggle to lift thousands of rural women from the world of abject poverty to a promised land of milk and honey.”
Indeed, the Realising Gender Equality through Empowering Women and Adolescent Girls Project the TAHA Group executes in collaboration with the UN-Women and the KOICA at Ikungi in Singida Region and in Msalala District in Shinyanga Region has seen tremendous productivity and income upsurge among women and girls, thanks to extensive adoption of climate-smart agricultural technologies, best practices, finance and market access.
The TAHA Group Chief said women and girls were now smiling all the way to the bank, reaping rewards of their labour, following tomatoes, watermelon and passion fruits value chains blossoming and attracting lucrative prices.
The Lumolumo Women Group Chairperson, Ms Angelina Lutego, confirmed that with just a over two acres of passion fruits in Msalala, her cluster was looking forward to harvest 78.4 tonnes by the end of the year, earning them a cool Sh78.4 million (about $34,000).
“Our farm has a total of 1,400 passion trees with a combined yielding capacity of 1.9 tonnes per week,” said Ms Letego, explaining that going by the harvesting season of 40 weeks per year, they expect to harvest 78.4 tonnes.
“This implies that we will cash in Sh78.4 million (about $34,000), if the prevailing price of Sh1,000 (about $0.4) per kilogram is anything to go by,” she said, adding:
“The project has greatly contributed to improving our socio-economic status. We’re now earning millions of shillings from zero income, enabling us to provide basic needs for our families, including sending our children to school to secure their future.”
The group has also been able to replicate the model to 14 other women groups and 30 individuals within Shinyanga Region who are now engaging in horticulture whose huge multiplier effect is bringing in a critical mass of small-scale farmers.
Ms Aziza Nyuha, the Munyu Women Group Chairperson in Singida, for instance, said her members had recorded incredible income growth, enabling them to educate their children, improve their health and enhance their social status, courtesy of the TAHA Group and the UN-Women project.
“Growing tomatoes and green peppers has remarkably changed our lives. Believe me, horticulture holds the key to unleash the sleeping rural economy,” Ms Nyuha explained.
Indeed, the TAHA Group and the UN-Women project, has reached out over 500 farmers in Ikungi District, Singida Region, and in Msalala District, Shinyanga RegionΩ
The TAHA CEO, Dr Jacqueline Mkindi, briefs the UN-Women Executive Director, Ms Sima Sami Bahous (Centre) as the UN-Women Representative to Tanzania, Ms Ms Hodan Addou (Far left), keenly listens.