Smallholder farmers and firms in Tanzania are reporting bountiful returns as a result of the Market Access Upgrade Programme (MARK-UP) sponsored by the European Union (EU).
MARK-UP, a four-year initiative co-financed by Germany to the tune of €40 million, is target at increasing the competitiveness of the East African Community (EAC) agricultural exports principally to the EU.
Over 1,000 farmers have been empowered with modern farming and production techniques for fresh produce for export as the programme has paved access to the multi-million dollar EU market.
Firms have also secured loans totaling $1 million, with over 50 capacitated in financial management, branding and packaging.
Speaking on the development, Senior Regional Technical Advisor for MARK-UP (EU-EAC), Mr. Safari Fungo said that the interventions have been rewarded.
He referred to spices and avocado growers as examples, saying they have succeeded in penetrating the European markets and are generating millions of dollars.
Over 1,000 spices farmers and exporters have quadrupled the value of their sales as a result of their exposure to production and post-harvest techniques, he said
Fungo further revealed that avocado farmers in Njombe and Mbeya have also benefitted from the programme, they have gained access to EU markets after meeting the safety compliance.
“Some of them were on the verge of their exports being blocked for non-compliance but now they have been cleared
“More than 1,300 smallholder farmers, over 200 SMEs, and 20 institutions have so far benefited from MARK-UP interventions in Tanzania,” he said.
A total of nine groups of avocado farmers in the Njombe and Mbeya region have also been supported by the programme and exposed to Good Agricultural Practices (GlobalGAP) which is key to penetrate food export markets.