Tanzania horticulture exports hurt by border closure

Sunday May 24 2020

A horticulture farm. Tanzania Horticulture Association Chief Executive Jacqueline Mkindi asked Tanzania and Kenya to resolve the border issue to avoid delays in exporting Tanzania’s horticulture produce through Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA). PHOTO | FILE | NATION MEDIA GROUP


The closure of the border between Tanzania and Kenya hit Dar’s horticulture sector due to long delays at the crossing for fresh produce truckers, risking a disruption of the supply chain.

Horticulture is one of Tanzania’s economic pillars.

This past week, Tanzania Horticulture Association (Taha) Chief Executive Jacqueline Mkindi asked the governments of Tanzania and Kenya to resolve the border issue for the sake of the already struggling exports industry.

Most of Tanzania’s horticulture produce is exported through Kenya's Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA). “If this tug of war continues, we’ll be the first to suffer as we still rely on JKIA and the port in Mombasa to export crops whose routes are not open from Tanzania,” Dr Mkindi said. “Our government has all along been considerate to horticulture. We advise it to embark on economic negotiations with Kenya to allow cargo to continue crossing borders smoothly.”


“We’re ready to co-operate with the governments to ensure operations go smoothly at border points in the wake of the pandemic,” she added.


After the halt of international aviation, the Taha signed a deal with Ethiopian Airlines.

Despite the deal with Ethiopian Airlines to ferry fresh vegetables, fruits, herbs and flowers to global markets from Kilimanjaro International Airport, the airline has still not been granted long-term landing permits.

“Unless the government resolves the hiccups, the future of the deal with the Ethiopian Airlines is hanging in the balance,” said Dr Mkindi, as she asked the government to consider issuing between three to six-month landing warrants for cargo flights to ease their operations.

Currently, Taha has to apply for a landing warrant for every incoming flight at routine airport charges and has to attach backup documents each time.