Garlic growers in northern Tanzania’s district of Mbulu are determined to expand garlic production so that they can export for more economic gain.

Boniface John is one of the garlic growers in the district who says: “We’re want to benefit from our sweat by taking our produces to the international market in the next farming season.”

“As farmers, we’ve all the reasons to realize this dream,” says John.

His remarks came at the time when 600 farmers in the district have been empowered with different skills on how to grow the crop organically and the international markets are interested in organically produced goods.

The spirited farmer is determined to increase production from two to four acres.

“…and this is possible, taking into account that the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) in collaboration with Tanzanian government has built for us a modern garlic processing plant in the area,” says John, who is a father of five in Bashay village in Mburu district, located nearly 200 kilometers from Arusha, the main getaway to Tanzania’s key tourist destinations.

According to him, the idea behind the new garlic processing plant is to ensure that farmers add value of garlic within the areas and export the already processed product.

IFAD implemented the project through Marketing Infrastructure, Value Addition and Rural Finance Support Programme (MIVARF), whereby hundreds of small-scale garlic growers will benefit from the new initiative aimed at improving their livelihoods through export.

So far, farmers have been empowered with different skills from farming to harvesting.

“In the past, garlic wasted in farms due to lack of market and when we got buyers they weren’t buying a competitive price, that meets costs of production, this action, has been making us continue living in poverty,” says John, who is also the chairman of Garlic Growers’ Association in the area.

Nicholaus Haraba, Mbulu District’s agricultural officer said that the government has built a modern storage facility in the area, which has the capacity of storing 50 tonnes of garlic in Bashay village.

“The storage facility has been built to add value to the crop,” he says.

According to Haraba, the garlic processing plant will benefit more than 600 farmers in Mburu District.

The new plant will reduce post-harvest garlic losses wasted in farms in the district, which leads for producing garlic, a strongly aromatic bulb crop that has been cultivated for thousands of years.

In the past, farmers in the district used to lose between 25 and 50 tonnes of garlic annually due to lack of processing plant.

The official described the plant as a catalyst to development in northern part of the east African nation.

“We’re encouraging farmers to venture into organic farming, to meet the market demand,” he says.

“This new development will also encourage more people to venture into garlic farming; hence make Tanzania the leads in East and Central Africa for producing the crop,” says Celestino Mofuga, Mbulu District Commissioner.

So far a total of 20,000 hectors of land has been allocated for garlic farming in the district.

“This unique project will change the economic landscape in Mburu district, will improve the livelihood of people living in those areas because farmers will grow the crop and add value through processing it for the domestic market and generate a surplus for export,” he says.

From the garlic processing plant, people can produce garlic powder, garlic paste, garlic chilli, garlic oil, garlic in oil, and garlic vinegar.

Tanzania has excellent climatic conditions for the production of garlic, but low crop yields have failed to adequately meet local demand for garlic and as such the country has seen imports from China, Egypt and South Africa fill in the gap.

Garlic is grown in the area and other parts of the country is sold in major cities such as Arusha, Mwanza, Tanga, Dar es Salaam. Enditem

Source: Xinhua/