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Vegetable Imports Drops Massively in Zanzibar

Posted on 19th Feb | 2018

Zanzibar Islands, popularly known in the world as a favorite tourist destination, features fancy beaches of the Indian Ocean and amazing old historical sites. The islands receive more than 350,000 tourists annually from across the world. Due to its touristic nature, most investors have been attracted to invest in the hotel and tourism business. For many years, Zanzibar was importing over 80% fresh food from Tanzania mainland, including horticultural products and grains, particularly rice, maize and beans. This importation was due to insufficient production in the Zanzibar islands. Since 2015, TAHA as a main facilitator, in collaboration with the Government of Zanzibar and other implementing partners such as the Milele Zanzibar Foundation begun promoting production of horticultural products. "We realized there was a huge potential in Zanzibar because there was a big demand for horticultural products by Tourist hotels and local markets. The Islands have favorable weather condition, and availability of water for irrigation, suitable and support of horticulture." Said Anthony Chamanga, TAHA Chief Manager - Development. As a result of farmers' mobilization, and trainings on Good Agricultural Practices (GAP) by TAHA and a well channeled marketing system, there was an impressive response from farmers who adopted GAP and this resulted to increase in production of quality vegetables. Musa Haji, one of the early adopters of GAPs, experienced a huge transformation in his farming. "Without TAHA I would have not realized the potential that is within horticulture farming. TAHA trained me on land preparation, connected me to input suppliers, and linked me with potential markets including tourist hotels like Paradise", Musa narrated. Faki Hanafi is a commercial farmer who adopted GAP and produces high volumes of onions and other vegetables like tomatoes and green pepper. Faki enjoys the market linkage facilitated by TAHA. He says, "TAHA has organized traders who come to our village and collect crops, and we get good prices from them." Hamisi Juma is another vegetable grower in Unguja who also sells his produce at the Neptune hotel in Zanzibar. Hamisi expressed his gratitude saying, "I appreciate the help from TAHA because now I have a market to sell my vegetable, unlike in the past where our produce rotted due to lack of market", "I sell directly to the hotel, and there are also other organized farmers selling to buyers from different markets." The Ministry of Agriculture, Natural Resources, Livestock and Fisheries in Zanzibar reported that, there has been notable decline in importation of horticultural products from Tanzania Mainland from 80% to 40% over a period of five years" Bakari Amadi, a trader in Unguja, acknowledges that the importation of vegetables and fruits have tremendously decreased recently. He explains that, "I used to import 30 crates of green pepper from Tanzania mainland four times a week, but now I only import 10 crates as there is an increased production from local growers." He adds that, "I have also reduced importation of tomatoes from 1,000 to 400 boxes four times a week." TAHA through the USAID Feed the Future Programme has transformed the horticultural industry in Zanzibar. Farmers and dealers dealing in the horticulture value chain are enjoying a good income; poverty levels in some household have dropped, and more youth are going into horticultural farming as a business.

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