FARMERS in Manyara Region have been advised to capitalise on avocado farming to benefit from the booming trade of the fruits referred to in East Africa as new green gold.
Reverend Jason Kahembe from the Maisha Capacity Development Opportunity, said here recently that avocados had potential to lift farmers out of poverty and improve families’ levels of nutrition.
“Avocados surpass all the cash crops that were are engaged in, that’s why it is now in high demand,” opined Reverend Kahembe.
Reverend Kahembe, who was speaking at an Avocado farmer’s forum organized by the Tanzania Horticultural Association (TAHA), noted that that the flowering plant family thrived in many parts of Tanzania, with the possibility of using it to free Tanzanians from abject poverty and improves families’ levels of nutrition.
The Tanzania Private Sector Foundation (TPSF) says in its report that 5,551 tonnes of Tanzanian avocados worth 8.5 million US dollars were traded in Europe, Africa and Asia in 2018.
Data from TAHA shows that avocado exports nearly quadrupled from 1,877 tonnes in 2014 to 9,000 tonnes in 2019, bringing in about 12 million US dollars to the country.
On his part, TAHA Chief Development Manager, Anthony Chamanga said Babati was an ideal place for avocado farming, thanks to moderate humidity.
He further revealed that the association was planning to make Manyara Region a hub of avocado cultivation in Tanzania.
“This is explains why we have come with experts in avocado farming to equip you all with the right knowledge of cultivating the cash crop,” he explained.
In his rejoinder, Babati District Commissioner Lazaro Twange called on Babati residents to make the most of the avocado trade, saying the district stood to reap fortunes from it.
In Tanzania, the prominent avocado producing areas are in the regions of Mbeya, Njombe, Songwe and Iringa in the southwest, as well as in Kilimanjaro, Arusha and Tanga in the northeast of the country. The other regions are Kigoma and Kagera in the northwest and Morogoro in the east of Tanzania.
The majority of the growers are smallholder farmers, who own a couple to hundreds of avocado trees around their homesteads and in distant farms.