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Tanzania avocado production

Tanzania is the third largest avocado producer in Africa, after South Africa and Kenya.

The Tanzania Horticultural Association (TAHA) estimates that the country’s avocado exports reached 11,237 tonnes, or 510 containers worth USD 33 million in 2021. This is +12.6% more compared to 2020 sales.

According to the Tanzania Private Sector Foundation (TPSF), in 2018 Tanzania exported 7,551 tons with a total value of USD 8.5 million to Europe, Africa, and Asia.

TAHA projects that Tanzania will export 15,000 tonnes in 2023, thus generating USD 45 million in foreign currency

Tanzania Avocado Production

Avocado is a relatively new crop that Tanzania started exporting in 2009.

As avocados thrive in subtropical climates, and in areas suitable for coffee and tea (Tanzania’s traditional crops), making Tanzania an ideal location for avocado growth.

Tanzania’s total avocado production is difficult to estimate due to a lack of comprehensive data from Tanzania’s responsible ministry or institutions. Consequently, there is data inconsistency among different sources.

The Tanzania National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) indicated that the production was 19,449 metric tonnes in 2016/2017.

However, the Tanzania Horticultural Association (TAHA) figures show that the country produces about 7,000 tonnes of avocado annually.

Commercial production/export of avocados is dominated by Rungwe Avocado Company Ltd and Africado Ltd, which is based in Siha District, Kilimanjaro region. The two companies jointly produce more than 5,000 tonnes per year.

The rest of the growers are smallholder farmers who own a couple to hundreds of avocado trees around their homesteads and in distant farms.

The popular avocado varieties produced in Tanzania are Hass, Fuerte, Pinkerton, and, to some extent, Puebla.

Tanzania’s prominent avocado-producing areas are in the regions of Mbeya, Njombe, Songwe, and Iringa in the southwest, as well as in Kilimanjaro, Arusha, and Tanga in the northeast of the country, where coffee and tea are traditionally grown.

The other regions are Kigoma and Kagera in the northwest and Morogoro in the east of Tanzania.

Tanzania Avocado Exports

According to the International Trade Centre (ITC), Tanzania has seen exports grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 35%, from 2013 to 2017, to approximately 4.4 thousand tonnes in 2017 from 1.4 thousand tonnes in 2013.

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 ITC also indicates that Tanzania’s avocado exports showed an impressive growth performance over the last years.

The 2019 export value was more than 8.5 times the 2013 value and Tanzania’s share in world markets increased from 0.1% to 0.4%.

The top destinations for avocado from Tanzania 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.

The ITC estimates that most of Tanzania’s opportunities to increase avocado exports lie in the EU where Avocado represents 1.5% of agricultural exports.

The most important market is the Netherlands, with an untapped potential of USD 1.8 million. The second-largest market is France, but there the export potential is already fully realized.

Other markets with large untapped export potential include Japan, Switzerland, Spain, Germany, the United Arab Emirates, and China, while the potential to export avocado to Africa is very small.

In August 2021, Tanzania’s Prime Minister Kassim Majaliwa has announced that the government is finalizing negotiations with South Africa to export avocados to the latter.

And Tanzanian Deputy Minister for Agriculture, Hussein Bashe, said that the government was working to open other avocado markets including China and India.

Eventually, in November 2021 the National Plant Protection  (NPPZA) – Department of Agriculture of South Africa granted market access to the importation of avocados from Tanzania.

In addition, from 25th November 2021, the Indian Plant Health Authority allowed for the first time to export avocados from Tanzania to India. In March 2022, the Minister of Agriculture of Tanzania disclosed that these export would be duty-free in India.

To seize the opportunity represented by the increasing international demand for avocados, Tanzania established an avocado cluster in the northern zone regions in May 2021.

Furthermore, in November 2022, Tanzania and China signed 15 bilateral cooperation documents that include a protocol of Phytosanitary Requirements for the Export of Fresh Avocado Fruits from Tanzania to China.

The Ministry of Agriculture confirmed that China would start inspecting avocado farms in March 2024 before giving local exporters the green light to export the fruits to the Asian country.

Tanzania’s Ministry of Agriculture also announced plans to establish a shared facility in the southern highlands to collect, sort, grade, and pack all the region’s avocados to ensure consistency of product quality before shipment.

The government also intends to establish a “green channel” to facilitate the export of quality fresh produce from farm to market.

Investment Opportunities in the Avocado Sub-sector in Tanzania

The Tanzania Investment Centre (TIC) published a report titled “Investment Opportunities in the Avocado Value Chain, Tanzania” in which it highlights the following opportunities:

  • -Opening large plantations to produce larger volumes of fruits for export (to capture Asian, European and American markets), without excluding other African countries that do not produce avocados. Such plantations can be in the Southern Highlands of Tanzania (Mbeya, Iringa, Njombe, Ruvuma, Rukwa and Katavi), Northern Zone (Arusha, Kilimanjaro and Tanga), Lake zone (Kagera and Mara) and Morogoro regions.
  • -Investing into facilities that process avocados: sorting, cleaning, grading, packaging, production of assorted salads (foodstuffs), cooking oil, cosmetics, soap products etc.
  • -Manufacture or supply of inputs required in the entire avocado value chain – seeds, pesticides, fungicides, fertilizers, farming equipment/implements (tractors, trailers, harvesting machines), processing & packaging machinery, avocado packaging materials (specialized boxes for transporting avocados), cold rooms etc. Now, all packaging materials are sourced from Kenya.

Last Updated: 1st January 2024

Sources: International Trade Centre (ITC), Research on Poverty Alleviation (REPOA), Southern Agricultural Growth Corridor of Tanzania  (SAGCOT), Tanzania Horticultural Association (TAHA) Tanzania Investment Centre (TIC), Tanzania Private Sector Foundation (TPSF), Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences.