According to a recent statement by President Jakaya Kikwete, the Tanzania economy has the potential to strengthen and to grow along with increased investments into the crop and fruit processing industries, which will help to ensure that local products are processed within the country and then exported in a finished form.
“If we process our products locally, their market value increases as well, and this will benefit farmers, processors and the government,” said president Kikwete last week while speaking at the inauguration of a new processing factory located in the Morogoro’s Export Processing Zone (EZP), namely the UNNAT Fruits Processing Limited (UFPL).
The new USD 7 million investment factory has been producing 100 tons of its total installed capacity since last and it is expected to operate as such for at least a full year before it is able to operate at full capacity.
The UFPL is capable of processing 140 tons of raw fruit per day and is expected to provide fruit farmers in the area with a preexisting market, especially in Mikuyuni, Matombo and the Kinole hinterlands, areas where substantial amounts of oranges and pineapples are grown.
In addition to these areas, the Tanga region is also expected to become a major fruit source market for the East African country.
According to a report in the Guardian, the managing director for the UFPL, Rohit Shah, has said that once the factory has reached its full production capacity, over 10,000 fruit farmers in the Morogoro, Tanga and Coast regions will see the benefits as it will help to significantly reduce the estimated 40 percent post harvest losses.
As an EPZ enterprise, ultimately the UFPL plans to export 80 percent of the processed juice concentrate to markets in the EU, the Middle East and to other areas abroad, while the remaining 20 percent will be saved for sale domestically as well as in the regional markets.
The UFLP factory has already begun to process oranges, tomatoes and pineapples and will begin processing and packaging mangoes, passion fruit and grapes to be exported during its second phase of operations.
In order to sustain growth, the company has said that it plans to offer training to farmers in how to properly care for and maintain their plants.
“UNNAT will train the farmers on how to grow more fruits from the present plants, improve and maintain quality of fruits,” said the late managing director of UNNAT Fruits Processing Limited, B. Thakore, “This will be done by recruiting expert agriculturists, who will train the farmers, educate them on modern techniques of improving the quality and quantity of the fruits.”
According to UNNAT, an estimated 15,000 farmers have already agreed to supply the factory with pineapples and oranges, to which the company hopes to register an additional 60,000 farmers with the company in the Morogoro and Tanga regions by the year 2010.