Why Tanzania needs to invest more into avocado production
By Saumu Jumanne
Tanzania is blessed with a diversity of fruit trees. One example is that of avocado trees. According to available information, this fruit originates from Mexico, and it was introduced in Zanzibar in 1892, and then its cultivation increased extensively in the 1900s.
Eating avocados is always cool. It remains our traditional appetizer that goes with any food. Boarders in schools enjoy it a lot.
The yummy fruit is a refreshment that adds great taste to the food. For years, in Tanzania, it has been a by the way crop, for home consumption. But in recent years things have changed. According to a 2019 study by Tanzania Investment Centre (TIC) and East Africa Trade and Investment Hub, avocado has been transformed to be an important earner of forex for Tanzania and a source of edible oil.
The report notes that there is a huge avocado’s potential to fill up the edible oils’ gap in Tanzania, which stands at Sh676.2 billion ($294 million)! Investing in the fruit for edible oil production can go a long way to slash the 320,000 tonnes of annual cooking oil import.
And for forex earning, as they say, the sky is the limit. Our neighbour Kenya in 2021 is ranked 8th globally in avocado production. Media reports indicate in the first 3 months of 2021, it exported 26,481 tonnes of avocado.
A brochure by Southern Agricultural Growth Corridor of Tanzania (Sagcot) notes that in 2017 Kenya was the 6th largest exporter of avocados by volume and Tanzania was ranked 20th largest supplier.