EU to support Zanzibar horticulture

Jean Van Wetter, VSO Country Director

Jean Van Wetter, VSO Country Director

European Union has partnered with the government of Zanzibar and an International NGO –VSO to fund exploration the horticultural potential of the Zanzibar Isles.

With the new partnership, the EU under its Trade and Agriculture Support Programme (phase-II) will commit financial support to the tune of €600,000 to at least 10,000 small-scale farmers to boost horticulture production.

Some additional €150,000 will come from the project partners, Eric Baume, EU Head of Cooperation said on Friday in Zanzibar.

Baume said the funding is part of the support that the European Union has lined-up for the Isles.

“The EU is happy and pleased to note that the proposal submitted was in line with the union’s top priority of ensuring food security and empowering women and the youth.” he said.

VSO Country Director Jean Van Wetter detailed that the three- year project will involve both farmers from Unguja and Pemba and is expected to increase horticulture products by 13 percent.

The project will bring together small scale farmers with hope of creating small and medium sized processing factories.

“The programme’s objective is to have infrastructure that gives farmers better access to domestic, regional and international markets,” Baume underscored.

Launching the project, Agriculture and Natural Resources Deputy Minister Mtumwa Kheri Mbarouk said, Zanzibar’s horticultural sector has the potential to develop a strong regional competitive position, thereby providing substantial social and economic benefits to the country.

The sub-sector has not always been listed among active sectors contributing to the national gross domestic products. But the ministry’s deputy principal secretary, Juma Ally Juma says the latest step will see the sub sector’s contribution to the national GDP.

“With vast of domestic, international and tourists hotels in Zanzibar 80 percent of consumed vegetables is imported.” he said.

The project coordinator for the Association of mall scale farmers in Zanzibar—UWAMWIMA, Salumu Rehani told this website that the association currently has 2500 members and is expected to reach 15,000 members over the next two years.

He said the CASH 1 project increased horticulture production from 5,420 tonnes to 7500 tonnes annually.

The production was still little compared to the demand for exports to new markets in Oman.

Citing production of sweet potato, the coordinator said negotiations were going on to acquire tender to supply at least 25 tonnes weekly to Oman. He added “We have the market already, we’re working on to ensure we produce the required demand.”