Avocado Exports Surge to $77 Million: President Suluhu’s Initiatives Catapult Tanzania’s Horticultural Growth

Dar es Salaam, Tanzania

Tanzania’s agricultural sector is witnessing an unprecedented boom, particularly in the realm of avocado exports, showcasing a period of substantial growth under the astute leadership of President Samia Suluhu Hassan.

Jacqueline Mkindi, an influential stalwart in the agricultural domain and the CEO of the Tanzania Horticultural Association, highlights a striking surge in avocado exports from 17,711 tons, valued at $51 million in 2021, to an impressive 26,826 tons in 2023, with a valuation of $77 million. This leap forward is a clear showcase of President Suluhu Samia’s successful endeavors to carve out significant niches for Tanzania’s horticultural products in the global marketplace, she noted.

Moreover, the production of horticultural crops has also experienced a significant uptick, escalating from 7.3 million tons to 7.7 million tons. This growth is attributed to the Tanzanian government’s targeted initiatives aimed at boosting the sector’s productivity and broadening market accessibility. These strategic moves are integral components of President Suluhu Samia’s overarching economic blueprint, designed to catalyze growth across various sectors, with agriculture playing a pivotal role in the nation’s economic framework.

The burgeoning growth in avocado exports, alongside the overall expansion in horticultural production, underscores the efficacy of the government’s policies directed at refining agricultural methodologies, elevating quality standards, and pioneering new international avenues for Tanzanian produce. These accomplishments not only fuel the nation’s economic engine but also generate substantial employment opportunities, thereby uplifting the livelihoods of countless farmers nationwide.

In Tanzania, the heartland of avocado production is intricately linked to the Southern Agricultural Growth Corridor of Tanzania (SAGCOT) initiative, with regions such as Mbeya, Njombe, Iringa, and Songwe leading the charge. These southwestern highlands boast an optimal climate and rich, fertile soils, making them prime locations for avocado cultivation. It is here, within the verdant landscapes of the SAGCOT regions, that commercial avocado farming first took root, setting the foundation for what would become a burgeoning export industry.

The success of avocado farming in these areas has not only showcased the agricultural potential of Tanzania on the global stage but also paved the way for other regions to follow suit. Kilimanjaro, Arusha, and Tanga, though traditionally known for other agricultural pursuits, have begun to emerge as significant contributors to the country’s avocado production. This expansion is a testament to the adaptability of avocado cultivation across diverse Tanzanian landscapes and the growing recognition of its economic potential.

The initial focus on the SAGCOT regions for avocado production was strategic, leveraging the unique environmental conditions that favor the growth of high-quality avocados. These regions have since become synonymous with Tanzanian avocado exports, building a reputation for producing some of the finest avocados available on the international market. The spread of avocado farming to regions like Kilimanjaro, Arusha, and Tanga signals a national embrace of this crop, further solidifying its status as a key agricultural export for Tanzania.

The evolution of avocado farming from a concentrated endeavor in the SAGCOT regions to a nationwide agricultural movement underscores the scalable nature of this industry. As more regions engage in avocado production, Tanzania is poised to solidify its position as a leading exporter of avocados, driven by a blend of regional expertise, conducive climates, and a unified vision for agricultural excellence.

SAGCOT Centre’s analysis of the avocado value chain highlights a burgeoning global demand for avocados, positioning this crop as a potentially significant contributor to Tanzania’s foreign exchange earnings and government revenue. The analysis underscores the importance of effectively harnessing this demand to maximize the economic benefits for the country.

Moreover, the SAGCOT Centre points out an increasing interest in investments geared towards the value addition of avocados. This interest not only signals a move towards enhancing the profitability of avocado exports but also suggests a broader economic impact through the creation of more sophisticated supply chains and the potential for job creation in processing and related services.

Value addition activities could include the development of avocado-based products, such as oils, spreads, and health-related products, which could further diversify Tanzania’s export offerings and enhance the global competitiveness of its agricultural sector. This strategic approach to the avocado market, focusing on both expanding export volumes and developing value-added products, offers a comprehensive path to leveraging the full potential of Tanzania’s agricultural produce on the international stage.