Dar es Salaam — Tanzanian ginger farmers have every reason to smile as the produce has found a ready export market.
A Kenyan company - known as "Kutoka Ardhini" - has shown interest in buying 200 tonnes of ginger every month, which will then be re-packaged in that country for overseas markets.
In Tanzania, ginger - which is used as a spice and for medicinal purposes - is grown in Kilimanjaro (mostly in Same District, particularly on the slopes of Usambara Mountains), Ruvuma, Kigoma, Tanga, Morogoro, Coast and Mbeya regions.
For years now, Same District has been the leading ginger producer in Tanzania, producing up to 70 percent of all the country's output. Farmers in Same have the ability to produce 14,500 tonnes annually.
Kutoka Ardhini Company will start buying the produce through Kilimanjaro Flavours in Tanzania as soon as the agreement between the two companies is finalised.
Leaders of the two companies - which are both involved in the buying of agricultural goods and selling them in foreign markets - met for discussions at Bagamoyo in the Coast Region last week.
The director of Kilimanjaro Flavours, Dr Nathanael Kigwila, said that - to have reliable production and meet market demand - they already have more than 200 farmers who will be cultivating and selling ginger to the company.
"Farmers should look at this as a great opportunity that will be economically difficult, especially to solve the market problem which has largely pushed them back," said Dr Kigwila.
The farmers are from Iringa, Njombe and Morogoro regions.
He said that market uncertainty for farmers facilitates access to produce in large quantities.
Kutoka Ardhini Company Manager, Jacob Katuva - who also represented the company at the meeting - said they are planning to establish a business partnership with Kilimanjaro Flavours.
"We hope we will have more sessions to evaluate the productive partnership of our business so that we can start business. We do the same business; but, now, we have decided to start business relationships so that we can buy from the company as well as continue to buy directly from farmers," said Katuva.
Suzan Masunjwa, a ginger farmer, said this opportunity has her planning to cultivate 10 acres of ginger, a thing she could not do in the past.
Ms Jackeline Lukosya, marketing manager of Love In Action, said she plans to take advantage of this opportunity to grow and sell ginger.