Fresh Fruits and Vegetables in Moshi, Tanzania
Fresh Fruits and Vegetables in Moshi, Tanzania
The demand for sustainable fruit and vegetables is expected to rise due to the increasing worldwide awareness of a good and healthy diet and a more environmentally friendly production. At the same time, growing High Value Crops has been proved a good strategy for increasing farmers' revenues. A necessary step in the fight against inequality, as 70% of people living under the poverty threshold reside in rural areas.
The horticultural industry in Tanzania is the fastest growing within the agricultural sector, recording an annual average growth of 9 - 13 per cent over the past 7 years. In Tanzania, the Hai and Moshi districts of Kilimanjaro region have the biggest potential. Besides having a good equatorial climate which allows year-round production, Moshi is a perfect location for export because of its good connections to the major eastern African seaports of Mombasa and Dar Es Salaam.
VECO East Africa has decided to launch a pilot project with three crops: passion fruits, french beans and peas. Two farmers' organisations are participating in the first phase: KIBO Horticulture Farmers' Association (KIBO HORT) with three primary groups (96 members) located in upper Moshi and KAHE Horticulture Cooperative Society (KAHOCOSO) with seven primary groups (138 members) located in lower Moshi.
TAHA (Tanzania Horticulture Association) defends farmers' interests at national level by lobbying for the implementation of favourable private and public policies to promote farming and providing farmers with technical training.
The livelihood of farmers largely depends on the income generated by these crops. Whereas traditionally they used to grow cucumbers and tomatoes, passion fruit and French beans are new crops for them, as is the option to export crops, instead of relying solely on the local market. Most farmers only use family labour for cultivation, while 32% of farmers occasionally hire paid labour. There is a developed road network between cities, but rural roads are only functional during the dry season. Nearly all adults have completed primary school and 95% is literate. About half of the houses is connected to the grid, but the electricity supply is irregular.
- Farmers lack knowledge of Good Agricultural Practices, which results in low productivity, crop losses and non-sustainable practices.
- Due to the weakness of the farmers' organisations, producers find it hard to sell collectively and because of this, they lack leverage during negotiations.
- Middlemen dominate the chain, and multiple transactions raise the price of the final products while reducing the value of farmers' production.
- The buyers don’t price by quality, which means there is no incentive for the farmers to improve the standard of quality of their production.
- Lack of access to credit makes investments to improve production difficult.
- The lack of data at district level makes it difficult for policymakers and support organisations to understand the reality of the situation and take informed decisions.
- Lack of effective formal and governmental institutions to support the sector.
- With limited or non-existent irrigation, most crops depend exclusively on rainfall. This has been further complicated by climate change. A better water supply would guarantee a more stable production.
- Weak commercial chain with mistrust between farmers, exporters and importers.
- We help farmers to get their GLOBALG.A.P. Certification by establishing a Quality Management System. This will open doors to the better paid, and more stable, European markets.
- We work closely with Syngenta, YARA and other technical support staff, to train the farmers in Good Agricultural Practices and link farmers with certified input suppliers.
- We will support TAHA's lobbying activities with the government to improve the road infrastructure and create a reliable framework.
- We support the creation of collection centres with cold rooms in every village.
- We promote the creation of a Village Commercial Bank (VICOBA system) so that farmers have access to investment capital, for example to be able to install irrigation systems.
- We give training on market systems and collective sales to the farmers.
- We train the members of the farmers' organisations on management **and how to create **viable business plans.
- To strengthen trade, we help to repair the partnerships between exporters and producers, drawing up contracts accepted by all partners with fixed prices according to predetermined quality standards.
- We organise multi-stakeholder meetings where we showcase our best experiences to encourage companies to add smallholder farmers into their sourcing policies.
- KAHE Cooperative has signed an inclusive contract to sell French Beans to Frigoken. In total, 12,775 kg from 32 farmers, valued at 9,581,250 Tanzanian shillings (€4325), have been sold.
What do we expect to achieve by 2017?
- An increase in the number of farmers who are part of the scheme, until we reach 500 members.
- 30% of sales will be done collectively, through long-term contracts with exporters which ensure a stable price.
- Post-harvest rejects will be reduced to 5% of total production.
- 90% of the farmers will have access to credit through a Village Savings and Loans Association.
- 90% of farmers will have access to a sustainable irrigation system.
- At least 8000 people will participate in VECO promotional activities. As a result, export companies will change their sourcing policies to include smallholder farmers.
What do we expect in the long term?
- The vegetables and fresh fruits trade will become a key economic sector for Tanzania.
- The European and other Western markets will get a steady supply of fair trade vegetables and fresh fruits.
- The farmers' organisations, coordinated through TAHA, will have the power to lobby the government for the creation and maintenance of better road infrastructure.
- Increasing opportunities for participation of youth and women, along with improvements in productivity and quality will make the crop attractive for the new generation, thus putting an end to the current rural exodus.