Value chain

Tanzania: spice value chain challenges unveiled

Unguja – Despite huge potential in the spice trade around the world, the cultivation value chain faces many challenges ranging from farmers to processors and transporters.

Poor production, insufficient supply of capital, poor agricultural tools, and the lack of a special oversight body are among the challenges hindering the penetration and dominance of crops in the world market.

In the past, Tanzania ranked third among developing countries for spice exports to the world, contributing up to five percent of global sales before the trend declined.

The Ministries of Agriculture of Mainland Tanzania and Zanzibar, in collaboration with the European Union (EU) funded Agri-Connect project, brought together spice stakeholders in Pemba to discuss how the challenges would be relieved.

Zanzibar Ministry of Agriculture Assessment Officer Mr. Hakimu Vuai Shein said that between 1995 and 1999, Tanzania was in third place in spice exports before the trend declined to 0 , 36 tons in 2000.

“Crop production has gradually increased to reach 123,507 tonnes in 2020 against 8,609 tonnes in 2014 due to the intervention measures put in place by the government,” he said.

Agri-Connect project leader Mr. Colin Scott said the project aims to eliminate challenges facing the sector’s value chain by targeting farmers, traders and transporters.

He urged the government and stakeholders to address challenges related to policies and legal frameworks.

Organic farming expert Dr Mwatima Jumma said spices were what brought Zanzibar into the international community and hence the promotion of tourism, qualities that are in danger of disappearing.

Tanzania Spices Processors Association (Taspa) Secretary Baraka Kasezero said the unpredictability of the fiscal and policy framework has discouraged many actors and investors from engaging in the sector. “The government and the private sector should work together to promote the sector in order to benefit from abundant opportunities,” he said.

Mbeya (Das) Regional Administrative Secretary Dr Angelina Rutambi said focusing on cultivation would benefit not only farmers but also the country’s economy. “Crops have many potentials although they are neglected. Priority must be given from the top down,” she said. The country produces more than 30 types of spices, including cloves, chili, ginger, cinnamon, black pepper, vanilla and many more which are used as food and medicine.

Zanzibar’s Agriculture, Irrigation, Natural Resources and Livestock Minister Soud Nahoda Hassan said the lack of a policy to monitor crop development was a big mistake.