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Prof. Mkenda Pledges to Revive the Redundant Horticulture Farms

Posted on 25th Oct | 2021

The Minister of Agriculture, Prof. Adolf Mkenda on 12th June 2021, paid an official visit to TAHA Headquarters where he intermingled with high-ranking officials. TAHA CEO, Dr. Jacqueline Mkindi took the Minister through the organization background, general operations, achievements, challenges, and the key existing areas of partnerships with the Ministry of Agriculture. Accompanied by the former Arumeru District Commissioner, Mr. Jerry Muro, Prof. Mkenda after a little stint at TAHA HQ, he proceeded to visit some of the beleaguered flower farms in Tengeru and Usa-River areas in Arumeru district, Arusha region. To be specific, a cabinet minister visited the idle horticultural farms of Arusha Blooms and Kiliflora Limited, where he expressed the government concern over the redundant plantations. Briefing the Minister, Dr. Mkindi said the closure of the horticultural farms have essentially been denying the government windfall revenues close to US$24 million per annum and employment opportunities to more than 6,700 people. However, Dr. Mkindi expressed TAHA’s willingness to work closely with the Ministry of Agriculture in making sure that the farms are back in operation to produce high-quality flowers for domestic and export markets. TAHA boss said that in heydays, the flower industry was a backbone of Arumeru and Arusha’s economy as it used to be a steadfast source of foreign currency and massive employment to common folks. Summing up, Prof. Mkenda vowed to work extra time to revive the farms as soon as possible in order to rekindle the flower industry in a bid to spur other businesses, recover thousands of lost jobs and generate revenue for the economy. Meanwhile: Prof. Mkenda also had an opportunity to pay a courtesy call to some of the operating horticultural farms namely Hortanzia Limited and Rijk Zwaan – Qsem, where he holds brief meetings with the investors. During the indoor engagement, the investors raised a few concerns such as the VAT charges on exports of seeds, delay in VAT refunds for more than seven years, a sluggish process in approving an integrated pest management system, particularly the adoption of biological control agents. Investors said that the Tanzania Revenue Authority (TRA)’s decision to tax multiplied seeds was not only implemented in Tanzania but was also going to suffocate the seeds production industry countrywide. Rijk Zwaan, for instance, gets orders of multiplying seeds, which are not for sale, as they have intellectual property. Exported seeds though are zero Value Added Tax rated, TRA requires the firm to pay VAT for the seeds’ multiplication service. In his response, the Minister made a commitment before TAHA and the investors that his Ministry would do all it takes to address the issues to allow the business to flourish. Prof. Mkenda, in his last remarks, recognized the efforts of TAHA in promoting the development of horticulture, pleading with the management to continue with its good work and ensure that the industry transforms the lives of poor Tanzanians.

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