Tanzania’s Prime Minister Kassim Majaliwa has announced that the government is finalizing negotiations with South Africa to export avocados to the latter.
He made the announcement on 1st August 2021 while addressing avocado farmers in the agricultural district of Rungwe in the Mbeya Region in southwest Tanzania.
South Africa has about 800 hectares of new avocado plantings annually. However, the country cannot meet demand and had to source its avocados from Tanzania at the start of 2021.
But in early 2021, South Africa blocked avocado shipments from Tanzania’s large-scale producer Rob Clowes at the border between Zimbabwe and South Africa over a lack of phytosanitary documents. Also seized were avocados from the Moravian Farming Company PVT Limited.
Clowes believes it is part of a concerted effort by the department of agriculture, land reform, and rural development (DALRRD) of South Africa to protect its avocado growers.
However, the South African authorities say the intention was not to block imports from the East African nation.
Looking to solve the impasse, Mr. Majaliwa said that the government had opted for a negotiated settlement and that discussions will be concluded soon. “Our farmers will eventually have the right to benefit from the South African market in the same way their counterparts [in South Africa] are selling their apples in large volumes in Tanzania,” he told farmers.
Adding to that, the Tanzanian Deputy Minister for Agriculture, Hussein Bashe, said that apart from South Africa, the government was working to open other markets in the world. “We are finalizing the process to open the China and India markets. The move will enable avocados to freely be transported in those countries without restrictions,” he stated.
Tanzania is the third largest avocado produce in Africa, after South Africa and Kenya.
According to the Tanzania Private Sector Foundation (TPSF), in 2018 Tanzania exported 7,551 tons of avocado with a total value of USD 8.5 million to Europe, Africa, and Asia.
The top export destinations are France and the Netherlands. Together, the two markets accounted for more than three-quarters of this product’s exports between 2014 and 2018. The United Kingdom came third with 14% of exports.