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Tap opportunities in avocado production, farmers tipped

Posted on 19th Mar | 2021

Farmers in Arumeru District have been urged to tap opportunities in avocado cultivation as a new source of livelihood and related incomes. Speaking during the meeting with more than 30 farmers at Sakila Village, in Arumeru District on 15th February, TAHA Production Lead, Mr Gilliard Mollel said there are several potential opportunities in the crop cultivation that can offer them an edge competition, adding similar to Njombe Avocado cluster that has proved to be effective and efficient. He said they have enormous opportunities to exploit in the existing local and international markets, which have great demand for avocado, noting that TAHA is committed to working closely with farmers on the production systems and the avocado value chain. Mr Gilliard shared studies finding conducted by the Market Access Upgrade Programme (MarkUp), TAHA, Tanzanian Trade Development Authority (TanTrade), and International Trade Centre (ITC) last year. He said according to the Tanzania Revenue Authority, Tanzania in 2015 exported 3,278 tonnes of avocado and by last year’s avocado marketing season in August, the country raised the export to more than 8,400 tonnes, adding: “If assumed that 15 percent of Hass produced did not enter the export channel then total production of Hass was around 10,000 tonnes. “At the current international market prices of above USD 2 per kilogram and the obtaining its investment value in Tanzania, avocado offers one of the highest returns on investment.” Explaining Hass refers to a species of a cultivar of avocado with dark green–colored, bumpy skin that was first grown and sold by Southern California mail carrier and amateur horticulturist Rudolph Hass. Farmers raised concerns to have limited knowledge on good agricultural practices particularly compliance to GlobalGAP and organic agriculture standards, sourcing, and application of agrochemicals and micronutrients. However, TAHA pledged to empower farmers with Good Agricultural Practices (GAP) training, especially for the avocado value chain so that they get better yields, and be able to compete in the domestic and regional markets. They also were also assured of standards and certification for horticultural products including avocado headed for the regional and international markets that is currently certified by a local company GREENCERT and equally provides them with training, inspection, and certification services at a minimal cost. The Production Lead said TAHA also assures farmers with cooperation and link with key stakeholders including the government and other development partners so that they also establish a big pack house similar to that of Njombe to reduce post-harvesting losses. “Currently there is no avocado commercial nursery in Arumeru district making it difficult for farmers to access reliable seedlings. TAHA plans to establish one big avocado commercial nursery, where farmers will access reliable avocado seedlings for uniformity in yielding, quality, maturity and resistance to- pest and diseases,” Mr Mollel pointed out.

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