AS tomato farmers here get distressed for the lack of market for their produce, the Isles government says fruit and vegetable processing would be a guaranteed solution and would minimize losses for them.
Farmers complain that there is a shortage of tomato buyers due to a glut caused by large-scale producers as well as imports from Tanzania Mainland, which has led to price fall drastically.
The Minister for Trade and Industries, Ms Ambassador Amina Salum Ali, said the government was now encouraging fruit and vegetable processing as a long term solution to lack of markets for fruits and vegetables, including tomatoes.
“Ongoing reforms in agriculture have given positive results. Tomatoes and other vegetables are now sold to tourist hotels, but similar items are still being imported from outside Zanzibar. We must find a way out,” she said.
Ms Amina said her ministry was aware of difficulties farmers were encountering in selling their produce and that her ministry had been working hard to ensure that the tonnes for produce including tomatoes were not wasted.
She said people, mainly those engaged in horticulture, had been encountering challenges in finding market for their produce.
“We are now calling on investors to build fruit and vegetable processing factories so that no produce is wasted,” she said.
According to the ministry of agriculture, natural resources, livestock and fisheries, farming, particularly horticulture, had been improving.