If you have any questions or would like further information on anything contained within this blog or some general advice on travel to Africa please call us on: 0044 1227 753181 or email info@puresafari.com

Monday, 20 May 2013

Expanding Vegetable Farms in Zanzibar

Around the small village of Fuoni, just outside Zanzibar City, are fields of okra, tomatoes and peppers. These vegetable plots are not just the result of one season's farming. They also represent three years of hard work to create Umwamwema, a farmers' association with over 200 members.These farmers have been working to increase their food security and income through enhanced productivity. Zanzibar is a small island of just over a million inhabitants, the majority of whom are subsistence farmers.

Tourism has become the major industry in the last 20 years, but Zanzibar farmers are scarcely benefitting from the estimated one million tourists that visit the island each year. Tourist attractions include sandy beaches, colobus monkeys, giant tortoises and others. Once famous for its spice plantations, much of Zanzibar is no longer cultivated and 80 per cent of the vegetables supplied to the hotel industry are not from the island: the majority comes from Dar es Salaam, a hub for vegetables grown in the more fertile areas of Tanzania. Five years ago, Omari Abdullah faced numerous challenges in accessing markets and selling his vegetables.

Poor roads, limited transport facilities and most crucially, no storage facilities for his vegetables, forced him to sell whatever he had for whatever price he was offered. "If you're loading your valuable tomato crop onto the roof of a dala-dala (minibus) and on top of it is a bike, a sofa or some suitcases, your vegetables will be ruined," says Khadija Rajab, senior Tanzanian Agricultural Productivity Programme (TAPP) coordinator.

"By the time you get to market you're competing with all the other farmers selling the same thing, and your tomatoes are squashed! You have to sell because there's nowhere to store your produce. It's a no-win situation for Zanzibar farmers." With input from Voluntary Service Overseas (VSO), Umwamwema was able to access international seed and soil experts such as Danny Coyne, working for the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) in Tanzania.

For more information on Zanzibar or Safari Holidays please call: 01227 753180

No comments:

Post a Comment