TANZANIA – The Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) initiative, ‘Grow to Sell’ aimed at empowering smallholder horticulture farmer has yielded growth in the country’s horticulture sector.

The initiative, dabbed District Agricultural Development Plan (DADP), was implemented from January 2019 to December 2024 with major focus on the northern regions of Arusha, Tanga, and Kilimanjaro.

The project is a collaborative effort between JICA, the Ministry of Agriculture, and the President’s Office-Regional Administration and Local Government (PO-RALG).

Its primary objective is to change the farming approach of horticulture farmers in the select regions, promoting market-oriented agriculture by shifting from the traditional ‘Grow and Sell’ approach to the ‘Grow to Sell’ approach.

Under this new approach, farmers receive technical support to conduct market surveys before commencing production.

This strategic move allows them to identify potential buyers, understand market demands in terms of quality, quantity, and delivery timelines.

“This approach has improved our earnings significantly,” said Mr Matemu one of the beneficiaries from Kilimanjaro Region’s Moshi District, and a member of the Nguvu Kazi Farmers Group in Masaera Village.

“The traditional method used to yield a meager income, with crops often going to waste due to a lack of buyers.”

The new approach has enabled him to increase his earnings to over TZS 1 million (USD 399.20) per harvest and nearly TZS 3 million (USD 1197.60) per season with two harvests.

“In the 2000/2001 season, I earned an average of TZS 150,000 (USD 59.88) because there were more crops on the market than buyers and a large quantity of the crops used to rot in the fields,” he added.

JICA Tanzania Office chief representative Ara Hitoshi informed that currently, 12 LGAs in Arusha, Kilimanjaro and Tanga regions are receiving technical assistance and education on how to execute the new approach.

He added that over 3,000 farmers have benefited through capacity building involving how to carry out market surveys and the preparation of an agriculture production work plan.

“The project has managed to increase farmers’ production by 45 percent, which has increased the number of beneficiary farmers to 4,000 under the LGA’s support,” he explained, noting that in total, over 7,000 farmers have benefited as the number keeps increasing.

Tanzania’s horticultural industry largely depends on smallholder farmers who own less than 2 hectares of land, reveals a report by TanzaniaInvest. 

The report outlines that the value of Tanzania’s current horticultural export is USD 700 million, and this subsector is growing at a rate of 11% per year versus 4% for the overall agriculture sector.

The main export markets for Tanzanian horticultural products are the European Union, the Middle East, and the Southern African Development Community. The major export crops are cut flowers, vegetables, and fruits.

The horticultural subsector in Tanzania, however, faces some challenges, such as inadequate infrastructure, high transport costs, low productivity, limited access to finance, and weak quality standards.

To enhance the competitiveness of the horticultural industry, REPOA in their report, recommends diversification of products and markets, improvement of value chains, promotion of organic farming, and strengthening of institutional support.

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