EAT: FRESH a Farmers’ Roadmap of Expanding Successful Horticulture
EAT: FRESH is a Public Private Partnership project implemented in the horticulture value chain of the Southern Highlands in Tanzania, with a specific focus to Iringa and Njombe regions. The purpose of the project is to make the regions viable sources for the production of three high-value horticulture crops: French beans, snow peas and avocados. This will be done by investing in farmer organization development, agro-logistics, eco-friendly fertilizer and linkages with the export markets.
Picking from the recommendation of the Mapping of production of fruits and vegetables in Tanzania study conducted by Match Makers Associate in 2017; The Southern Highlands hold the highest long-term potential for horticulture growth in Tanzania. However, the horticulture sector in these regions is currently not fully organized. Farmers’ production and productivity levels are still low, acidic soils are inefficiently managed, limited availability of quality inputs, and large post-harvest losses are some of the key challenges to overcome.
EAT: FRESH addresses these challenges by linking inclusive business and socio-economic development with investments in the agro-logistics. The project is positioning the Southern Highlands as a hub for the production and export of three high-value horticulture crops: French beans, snow peas and avocados.
Made in Tanzania
The project’s Inception Phase kicked-off in mid-2019. The partnership assessed 12 Agricultural Marketing Co-Operative Societies (AMCOS) with a total membership of 2,253 smallholder farmers. The project analyzed farmers’ agronomic training needs, conducted a soil study and fertility survey. This resulted in a training plan on the development of AMCOS, agronomy, management of soil fertility, fertilizer use and sharing best practice on cultivation of French beans, snow peas and avocados.
In parallel, EAT: FRESH invests in agro-logistics, cold chain infrastructure and processing hardware. Trucks and collection centers improved the efficiency of the collection of fresh produce supplied by the 12 AMCOS. In addition, enhanced cold room storage reduces post-harvest losses and increased sorting and grading capacity allows for more efficient processing and packaging at the local pack house. From there, the French beans, snow peas and avocados are shipped for export to mainly European markets.
Specific focus is on the development of 12 AMCOS with 2,253 smallholder farmer members. Farmers are given the opportunity to cultivate high-value horticulture crops which provides income security due to its guaranteed market demand. Interaction with the smallholder farmers takes place by means of training and advisory services on organizational capacity (e.g. governance, record keeping, entrepreneurship) provided by Stichting Agriterra. On the agronomy of the project’s key crops (French beans, Snow peas and Avocados) by GBRI Business Solutions Ltd. and on the land use management (e.g. sustainable and responsible use of inputs and resources, soil productivity and soil fertility management) provided by Guavay Company Ltd.
Practical field trainings takes place through demonstrations at four pre-selected FRESH-hubs near the AMCOS. The FRESH-hubs are places where farmers, processors and government meet, participate in demonstrations, and receive training and advice. At the hubs, drip irrigation equipment will be set-up to demonstrate the benefits of efficient use of water.
Climatic conditions in Iringa and Njombe are favorable to grow vegetables. However, the soils in these regions are often degraded, affecting potential crop yields. Soils provide the basis for crop productivity and income. Therefore, improving the quality and fertility of the soil is a key element for food security. Guavay Company Limited, the first organic fertilizer company in Tanzania, develops crop-specific organic fertilizers that improve crop production and soil quality. The fertilizers are produced from organic material, partly based on circular use of waste. Organic waste from foods markets and agro-processors are used as raw materials. The organic fertilizers support the cultivation of high-value horticulture crops.
On 15th July, 2021, a new certified organic fertilizer called Hakika was launched in Njombe. This is one of the great achievements of the project. The responsible use and added value of the organic fertilizer is actively demonstrated to farmers at the FRESH-hubs and are sold at the local market.
Processing, logistics and export markets
In Iringa, additional processing capacity (pack house, grading, sorting, cleaning) is set-up by GBRI Business Solutions Ltd. Investment in agro-logistics, such as cold chain storage facilities, trucks and warehouses will ensure that harvested vegetables will be kept in good condition and can be supplied to export markets in accordance to the required standards. This way, GBRI aims to create a link between organic horticulture products made in Tanzania by smallholder farmers and international markets. Export opportunities in international markets, in particular West-Europe, are being explored and assessed by TechForce Projects BV.
On the potential of horticulture farming in the southern highlands of Tanzania, please read sourcing of fruit and vegetable article and the Study on mapping of the production of fruits and vegetables in Tanzania.
Are you interested in finding out more about the EAT: FRESH project? Do you see synergies between the EAT: FRESH project and your organization or project? Then reach out to TechForce Projects BV, the lead partner and project manager of this Public Private Partnership, Mr. Steven Gajadin email@example.com
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