TANZANIA – The East African Business Council (EABC), in collaboration with Tamu Tamu Tanzania (TTT), has embarked on a drive to minimize apple imports from outside East Africa through increased local cultivation.

Apple farming in East Africa, which is gaining momentum as a highly promising and profitable agricultural endeavor, currently records an estimated USD 400 million to USD 500 million worth of fresh apples imports annually.

To kickstart the process, the two collaborators will host a webinar on Thursday February 29th, 2024, titled “Investing in Apple Farming in East Africa and Agro B2B Networking,” with the goal of empowering agri-actors to engage in the commercial cultivation of apples.

Scheduled to provide insights from industry experts, the webinar aims to create a platform for exchanging experiences and enhancing the competitiveness of the agri-food industry within the East African Community (EAC).

According to David Runge, Director Tamu Tamu Tanzania, the East African region has a potential to produce over 100,000 well-tended and matured apples in just one acre.

The webinar, thus, seeks to equip actors in the apple value chain with the necessary knowledge to capitalize on the growing market demand for apples in East Africa. Notably, Tanzania is emerging as a potential leader in apple production on the continent.

In a recent Zoom meeting organized by the Sagcot Centre, experts highlighted the significance of apple farming as a viable business avenue in Tanzania and Africa.

Tanzania, with active efforts under the National Agricultural Advisory Services (NAADS) program, is positioned to become a key player in apple production within Africa.

Tamu Tamu Tanzania, having commenced its apple cultivation journey between 2016 and 2017, has successfully introduced and adapted over 50 apple varieties from various global regions to suit the African climate.

Additionally, Tanzania has actively promoted apple production, initially targeted five districts, and later expanded the program to cover additional regions.

In Uganda, the southwestern highlands around Mount Rwenzori and Mount Elgon provide favorable agro-climatic conditions for apple cultivation.

Varieties like Anna and Golden Dorset are grown, and the government supports small-holder family farmers through the National Agricultural Advisory Service (NAADS) program.

Apple growing in Uganda, according to NAADS, has the potential to significantly contribute to poverty reduction and improved nutrition.

Kenya, on the other hand, with apple-friendly highland areas surrounding Mount Kenya, has seen substantial growth in apple production.

Disease-resistant varieties like Enterprise, Liberty, Gold Rush, Jona Free, Pristine, and William Pride are commonly grown.

In 2022, Kenya produced 2,000 tons of apples, marking a significant increase from the previous year.

As East Africa collectively strives for self-sufficiency in apple production, this regional initiative not only promises economic benefits but also underscores the importance of collaboration and knowledge exchange to create a sustainable future for the agri-food industry.

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