Amsha Institute of Rural Entrepreneurship (EA) acting Executive Director, Omari Mwaimu who was recently in India as part of an eight member local team of executives told The Banker that the business to business (B2B) meetings and road shows proved fruitful as the Asian nation demanded pigeon peas.
It is believed that should the Indian pulses market grow, many farmers in Lindi and Mtwara regions would stand to gain from that new line of business.
“I wish to express thanks to Naliendele Agricultural Research Institute (NARI) and other researchers because through its well experienced and skilled personnel we have managed to transform the farmers from the traditional farming system to a modern day producers capable of serving foreign markets,” Mwaimu said.
He noted that while in India, they met with 100 Indian pulse importers, businessmen, millers and buyers in Chennai, Indore, New Delhi, Mumbai as well as Indian Ministry of Commerce executives with whom they discussed the market issue.
The Tanzanian delegation was in India with the support of International Trade Centre (ITC), under project Supporting Indian Trade and Investment for Africa (SITA) to take part in B2Business meetings and road shows.
At least 2000 hectares of land has been allocated for pigeon peas production in Lindi and Mtwara regions and from it, farmers have harvested over 200,000 tons of the pulse this season for export to India.
“Apart from that also we have secured a market for sesame and farmers are keen to export the crop to India,” the Amsha Institute EX noted.
According to estimates by World Health Organisation every Indian requires at least 80 grams of pulses every day to meet daily protein requirements.
In spite of being the biggest producer of pulses, India imports have dramatically increased over the past decade, from U$446m in 2004 to U$2.685bn in 2014 due to population increase.
The Indian import dependency for pulses is consequently expected to rise significantly, hence offering long term opportunity for international suppliers.
The pulses include beans, dry beans, horse beans, dry chickpeas, cow peas, dry lentils, lupins, dry peas, pigeon peas, and vetches that are used for feeding humans as well as cattle.
Tanzania is the 10th world leading producer of pulses and second only to Nigeria in Africa.
Amsha was established on May 11, 2012 to design and implement community development projects for improved living standards of disadvantaged people in rural communities of Tanzania for poverty reduction in collaboration with local and international development partners.
Over 10,000 farmers from Coast, Lindi and Mtwara regions and about 250 farmers from Dar es Salaam are part of the AI whose other objectives are to share a common vision of developing social entrepreneurship, provide guidance on the availability of relevant knowledge and skills for successful commercial farming and small business management.
Highlighting on pulses production in Tanzania, the Country Programme Manager of Eastern Africa Grain Council (EAGC), Ikunda Terry called on Tanzanian farmers, exporters, processors and others to ensure they produce high quality pulses that meet customers’ needs because pulses are an important sources of nutrition for a sizeable population of the world and the demand has been growing at a stable rate.
In Tanzania pulses occupy about 12 percent of the land cultivated annually but yields are generally poor due to poor seed quality, Terry hinted.