TAHA, UNDP partnership spurs horticulture outputs, earnings

TAHA, UNDP partnership spurs horticulture outputs, earnings

THE United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) backed pilot horticultural project has recorded a massive impact to small-scale farmers.

The project executed by TAHA in Arusha, Kilimanjaro, Mara and Simiyu regions has seen tremendous productivity and income upsurge for a critical mass of smallholder farmers in horticultural industry, thanks to extensive adoption of climate-smart agricultural technologies, best practices, finance and market access.

The cluster’s chairman, Mr Abiud Masige, said that they look forward to harvest nearly 500 crates per season, meaning that the group with eight farmers will reap a cool 50m/-, a reasonable income indeed by any standards. The group used to cultivate tomato traditionally and harvest around 64 crates, making 1.3m/- per season, owing to the low productivity compounded by poor technology, lack of know-how, low tomato quality and prices as well as non-existence of the reliable markets.

The prevailing yields and profits are groundbreaking, far beyond their imaginations and it poises to be an economic game changer for a critical mass of smallholder farmers in Busega and Bunda as nearby growers also replicate the best practices from their colleagues under the project. Through the UNDP financial support, TAHA has been offering the smallholder growers with the climate smart technologies like greenhouses, drip irrigation, solar energy, water harvesting systems, inputs, such as hybrid seeds, fertilizers and training on best agricultural practices to improve crops production to meet both local and export demands.

It is understood, TAHA in partnership with UNDP has provided high quality extension services, transforming over 3,900 subsistence farmers, mainly youth and women, into modern competitive entrepreneurs by facilitating access to financing, technology, inputs, infrastructure and markets in Europe and the Gulf. For example, the official data shows, farmers are now harvesting 35,000 kg of tomatoes per acre, up from 9,000 kg prior to the joint intervention, equivalent to 77 percent increase in productivity.

The project also saw an increased access to inputs.

TAHA Group CEO, Dr Jacqueline Mkindi, was overwhelmed with joy, saying their painstaking efforts to see Tanzania produce and get a share in the global organic food value chain worth $369 billion annually, have paid off.

“We are very proud that our efforts to register biological control have enabled our member, the multi-flower Ltd, to produce the biocontrol agents for local consumption and export markets.

This means that Tanzania will be able to get a slice in the global organic food market value of $369 billion” Dr Mkindi explained.

The global organic food market is mainly driven by increasing health concerns among people due to the growing number of chemical poisoning cases, awareness about the harmful effects of pesticide residues in food and its impact on health.

The Tanzania’s company behind the breakthrough, the Multiflower Limited based in Arusha, said that currently, it could produce 1,200 liters of biocontrol agents per day or 6000 liters per week, offering a ray of hope to the horticultural growers and exporters to take advantage of the World organic food value chain.

The Managing Director of Multi-flower Ltd, Mr Tjerk Scheltema said that the biocontrol agents are currently only supplied to local flower farms and the surplus are exported to Holland, flying Tanzania's profile high in terms of innovation.

The TAHA and UNDP project also intensified the climate-smart technology adoption, with 70 percent of trained farmers having been embracing new technologies and practices that increase productivity, cut post-harvest losses from 65 to 32 percent and meet quality standards of high-end markets.

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Author: DAILY NEWS Reporter in Arusha

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