TANZANIA – Farmers in Tanzania will benefit immensely from the new World Food Programme (WFP) and the Tanzania Railways Corporation (TRC) collaboration to facilitate the transportation of perishable goods along the central railway line.

This partnership holds the potential to significantly reduce post-harvest losses and boost the agricultural market in the country.

According to Prof. Makame Mbarawa, the Minister of Transport, Tanzania, WFP’s contribution to the initiative includes five refrigerated railroad cars valued at USD337,000.

The initiative will notably benefit farmers between Dodoma and Dar es Salaam, enabling them to transport highly perishable fresh produce, including tomatoes and other vulnerable crops, more efficiently and cost-effectively.

“The government is committed to creating an enabling environment for farmers,” announced Prof. Mbarawa, “We encourage local and foreign investors to collaborate with TRC on various development projects aimed at improving transportation infrastructure.”

According to him, the project’s success could pave the way for its expansion to other railway sections, including Arusha, Moshi, Tanga, Kigoma, and Dar es Salaam, where horticulture, livestock, and fisheries are prevalent.

The aim of the initiative is to establish a sustainable cold chain that minimizes food losses and waste, enhances the availability of fresh and affordable products, generates employment opportunities, and increases farmers’ income.

Prof. Mbarawa went on to point out that Tanzania is recognized as one of the world’s top 20 producers of fresh horticultural products.

The sector, while it’s rapidly growing within the national agricultural sector, is primarily driven by smallholder farmers.

However, it was divulged that despite this progress, an estimated 30-40% of agricultural crops is lost throughout the value chain due to the lack of cold storage facilities.

Horticulture stakeholders have expressed optimism about the partnership, emphasizing that it will enhance their businesses.

Traditionally, most players in the industry have relied on road transportation, which presents challenges such as vehicle breakdowns and product spoilage.

By embracing the railway for transporting perishables, this partnership promises to transform the agricultural landscape in Tanzania, ensuring fresher produce reaches markets, reducing food wastage, and ultimately contributing to food and nutrition security in the region.

This initiative aligns with the WFP’s mission to address food security challenges and support the livelihoods of smallholder farmers, fostering economic growth and development.

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