Spices growers from Uluguru mountains mull going international

In a bid to assisting smallholder farmers to be able to tap vast potential of horticultural crops especially spices, MVIWATA is set to link producers with buyers in the international market.

Spices producers in Kinole and Tawa villages on Uluguru Mountain have been fetching poor prices for their produce such as black pepper, cinnamon, cardamom and clove while middlemen with market information continue minting cash over farmers’ backs.

Speaking at a stakeholder consultative-meeting recently in Morogoro, Kinole Saccos Manager Abbas Rajab said for years unscrupulous middlemen have been collecting the spices from their villages and export them to Uganda and to the European countries where they sell at better prices.

“We are glad to see that our organization is helping us to identifying and realizing that we stand a chance to sell our spices at better prices if we start exporting our produce by ourselves instead of getting satisfied with the prices offered by middlemen,” he said.

If this plan materializes, the farmers will sell one kilogram of cinnamon up to 3,000 shillings instead of 1000 shillings per kg at current prices offered at domestic market, which is governed by middlemen.

Europe is an important market for spices and herbs though growth of the market is slow but steady.

Through Malimbichi project implemented in areas of Kinole, Nyandira and Malolo, MVIWATA is committed to raising the productivity of vegetables and spices in particular by improving the value chain of these products.

The project team leader, Ernest Likoko elaborated that the goal was to transform smallholder farmers who grapple with internal market by linking them with potential buyers abroad willing to pay reasonable prices for spices such as cinnamon.

However, farmers need undergo preliminary steps before starting exporting spices including obtaining different licenses and permits that MVIWATA is facilitating their acquisition.

Present at the meeting was Mr Denis Gordian, a representative from the Board of Warehouse Receipt System who said in order farmers to start exporting spices collectively, needed to establish an independent company that would oversee warehouse on behalf on the market Board and Saccos.

“Second, they have to send a request to our board to add spice crops into the system of warehouse-receipt before being granted a license,” he said.

At present the Board lists only eight crops under the system which include cashews , peas , sunflowers , corn , rice , coffee , sunflower.

“Board accepts requests to add a crop into the system due to quantity of their respective production, the willingness of farmers to use the system and the presence of market or buyers of the crop,” added Mr Gordian.

Warehouse receipt system is used to simplify the collection of specific crop where farmers get paid half or the entire amount through SACCOs or the partnering bank.

This system has been used widely in the cashew, coffee and corn although stakeholders have acknowledged that several challenges still exist for it to be an accurate system.

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