THE European market has been described as the major buyers of avocado fruits and small-scale growers in Rungwe District, Mbeya Region have been urged to produce quality products from their farms, to meet the high market demand.
In the past year 2014/15, Rungwe exported 500 tons of avocados to the European market, but demand exceeded supply.
The retired Tanzania Tea Packers (TATEPA) Group Company Board Chairman, Joseph Mungai, told The African last week that this year, Rungwe Avocado Company (RAC), achieved important operational successes whereby over 500 tons of export quality fruits were shipped and sold in Europe, overcoming the logistical challenges of exportation heretofore.
“However, volumes from out growers were lower than expected primarily due to damaging infestation by false coddling month (FCM) shortly before harvest,” he said.
RAC is among Tatepa subsidiary companies which buys avocado fruits from small-scale farmers in Rungwe. The Tatepa Annual General Meeting took place in Dar es Salaam last week.
“Most European markets require production methods to be in accordance with Global GAP standards and so RAC renewed its certification for its own estate and trained 200 smallholders out growers to successfully meet the required standard,” he said.
According to Tatepa report and financial statements of the year 2014/15 released last week, which also clarified on the situation of Tea agriculture operating under the TATEPA Group Company Ltd; the year 2014/15 under review was another difficult period for the product whereby tea trading conditions were unusually challenging for teas of the Tanzania type, and the weakened shillings inflicted heavy exchange losses on the company’s sizable dollar loans. Consequently the Group posted a loss after tax of TZS 4.9 billion.
Commenting on the issue, the Director of Tatepa, Peter Rowland, told The African that the tea company employs 1,060 people and is supporting nearly 16,000 tea and avocado out growers in Rungwe District.
He said payments to tea payments to growers have increase from 382million shillings to 4.35bn in 2014/ 2015 and was therefore the most successful case of privatization.
On avocado out growers, Rowland said it has increased from 1.0 m/- in 2010 to 70m/- last year and will be more than 100m/- this year.
According to the report, Tatepa Group production and exports have increased to an annual peak of more than 5,000 tons of tea and 500 tons of avocado projected to increase to over 1,000 tons in the current year.
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