TAHA commends government over plastic bags exemption

12Jun 2019
The Guardian Reporter
Arusha
The Guardian
TAHA commends government over plastic bags exemption

A government exemption of the horticultural industry to continue using plastic bags as packaging material for exporting to western developed markets has been hailed as an incentive to spur growth.

TAHA Group’s CEO, M Jacqueline Mkindi addressing a press conference at her office in Arusha yesterday.

Tanzania Horticultural Association (TAHA) Group’s CEO, Jacqueline Mkindi said here yesterday that the government’s move been well received by flower, fruits and vegetable farmers, exporters and logistical agents.

Mkindi commended authorities ’ decision saying it is a positive step in the direction of supporting the fast growing industry which earns the country millions of dollars annually.

“The government’s considerate decision will go down into history as the best for the horticulture industry to grow by leaps and bounds,” Mkindi told a news conference noting that TAHA members are,  ”Very proud of our government.”

She said polythene bags with a thickness of 30 microns are universal standards packaging material for flowers especially cuttings and vegetables for the export market. Plastics are also used as punnets for packaging vegetables, seed trays for raising vegetable seedlings, seed bags for nurturing fruit trees seedlings and flower sleeves for blooms.

The government through the Prohibition of Plastic Carrier Bags Regulations of 2019, exempted the agriculture sector, horticulture industry inclusive from prohibition of using plastics as packaging materials. The ban on plastic bags became effective on June 1.

“Without prejudice to the provisions of regulation (5), plastic or plastic packaging for agricultural sector or food processing are exempted from the prohibition,” reads part of the regulations.

TAHA members are equally happy with the government’s exemption with Home Veg Tanzania Limited’s Director, Machel Tarimo saying, “We are very grateful indeed to our government for being generous enough to us. We are very happy and our hope is that this exemption will translate into our earnings.”

TAHA Chief Development Manager, Anthony Chamanga also joined his peers in commending the government for the move, noting that the exemption is a huge relief to the industry as plastic bags are key pillars in the entire value chain, from farm to the market.

“This shows that our government is real willing to create enabling environment for horticulture to flourish. It also offers us a new energy to continue fostering the industry,” said Chamanga.

TAHA’s Business Environment Manager, Kelvin Remen who led the negotiations between the green industry and the government over the issue said he is overwhelmed by the decision as it will motivate exporters, growers and logistical agents to work hard.Horticulture is one of major foreign currency earners after tourism, mining and manufacturing industries with current earnings of nearly $700 million per annum. The sub-sector also employs nearly 2.5 million local people, mostly unskilled labour.