The rising star
“My vision for Njombe region is to produce good quality avocados using the best agricultural practices. But to achieve this we need infrastructure and to ensure that farmers increase their profits,” said Josiah Mrimi.
Josiah Mrimi is the director and founder of Muricado, a large avocado and fresh produce grower and exporter from Njombe. The region, part of the Southern Highlands of Tanzania, is a hilly and fertile land in the south-western part of the country. Altitude and cool temperatures make it the perfect place for avocado production.
Sometimes referred to as the ‘green gold of Tanzania’, avocados are the new rising star in the country. While only some seven years ago domestic production was close to zero, the crop has now become a key export for Tanzania, making the country one of the leading African avocado exporters, preceded only by South Africa and Kenya.
Avocado growers and exporters struggle to access international markets because their produce often does not meet quality standards, buyer requirements and product regulations.
It is a different story for Mrimi, however. His company is doing well. Mrimi Horticulture is not only exporting its avocados to large regional buyers in Kenya but also contributing to trade within the East African Community (EAC). Mrimi and his team are commitment to research and development which is evidenced by the large pipeline of innovations serviced by our technical facilities. Strong focus remains on our cultivar development, eco-friendly packaging and other sustainability initiatives. We collaborates with relevant agencies to undertake some R&D activities for industry that align with our capabilities and priorities. This may be as a service provider or through other funding sources such as Government grants.
Our farmers undergo a comprehensive short course overview of avocado biology, soil preparation, cultivation, pest and disease control and harvesting. After completion of the course, our farmers are better equipped to work in our avocado production environment and have a more cognitive understanding of the world of Avocados. The hands-on the course has increased awareness about the importance of internationally recognized certifications, and preparing farmers groups to become eligible for the certifications.
Mrimi has remained an active part of these efforts to connect farmers with exports to create a win-win situation. Just last year his company provided a platform to 500 farmers, representing multiple farmer groups from the Njombe region, to receive a similar training on Global GAP certification.
It is now just a matter of months before Mrimi and the farmers apply for Global GAP certification so that they can start selling to the European market.
Support from EAC MARKUP
Mrimi and his team are now in a process to seek help from EAC MARKUP. At Muricado we do believe that, support from the Market Access Upgrade Programme (MARKUP) will help increase exports of agribusiness and horticultural products and promote regional integration and access to the European market by addressing specific challenges that Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs), Trade and Investment Support Institutions (TISIs) and policy-makers face in accessing regional and EU export markets.