Tanzania is set to begin exporting avocado to India, as the country seeks to strengthen bilateral trade ties and enable farmers to get higher returns for their produce.
Smallholder farmers in the northern Kilimanjaro region and from the southern highlands are set to benefit from the deal.
Traditionally, about 80 percent of the avocados grown in the East African country are consumed locally, but agricultural economists say exports will help develop the sector.
In 2003, India imposed an import embargo on avocados imported from Africa due to concerns that the fruits might be infested with dangerous pests.
However, India's health authorities have now allowed the entry of the highly nutritious fruit from Tanzania following lengthy negotiations, Agriculture Deputy Minister Anthony Mavunde said.
The country has been missing out on earning from avocado and the Indian market would open up Tanzania to earn more foreign exchange, he said.
Tanzania's current avocado export destinations include China, the USA, and South Africa, which only recently granted Tanzanian avocados access to its market.
Jacqueline Mkindi, the group CEO of the Tanzania Horticulture Association (TAHA), said, “Tanzanian stakeholders plus growers will immensely benefit from this opportunity as the overseas market will help improve their livelihoods by providing a reliable market for their produce.”
As a champion of horticulture in the country, TAHA played a central role in supporting the government to persuade the Indian government to open up its market to Tanzania.