By Louis Kalumbia

Dar es Salaam. South Africa has granted market access to avocado produced in Tanzania, ending a 10-year deadlock on the issue.
Tanzanian growers produce their avocados during the South African off-season, when prices in the local market are extremely high.
During this period, the local trade normally imports fruit to supplement the local supply.
In a letter dated November 16, 2021, acting director of South African Plant Health Jan Hendrik Venter said the decision was made after a successful virtual bilateral engagement.
“On November 9, 2021, the National Plant Protection Organization of Tanzania (NPPO) provided a pre-recorded video presentation to the National Plant Protection Organization of South Africa (NPPOZA) to verify and pre-test the practices pest risk management to allow the authorization of avocados from Tanzania to South Africa, ”the statement read.
The letter which was seen by The Citizen reads: The NPPO wishes to inform the NPPO of Tanzania that following the presentation of a pre-recorded video inspection and subsequent deliberation during the verification process Virtual, market access for the import of fresh avocado fruit from Tanzania to South Africa has been granted.
In addition, the letter states that market access has been granted subject to the NPPO of Tanzania providing a list / database of facilities registered in accordance with paragraph 2.3 of the phytosanitary import requirements.
Access to the avocado market in Tanzania has remained restricted despite the request submitted to NPPOZA in 2011 for phytosanitary certifications.
In February, 3,514 tonnes of avocados transported to South Africa by the Tanzanian Kuza Africa Company were confiscated at the Beit Bridge border post.
The fruit was seized and destroyed by officials from the South African Department of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development (DALRRD), apparently because no phytosanitary document accompanied the shipment.
The president of the South African Avocado Producers Association (SAAGA), Clive Garrett, said the protocol for importing Tanzanian avocados into South Africa has not yet been finalized.
“It is absolutely important that we protect our local industry and we have always supported the development and implementation of these protocols between South Africa and Tanzania,” he said.
The incident is receiving a lot of attention because the Tanzanian exporter claimed the fruit came from small-scale Tanzanian farmers who are suffering due to the effect of Covid-19 on their industry.
According to the Tanzania Private Sector Foundation (TPSF), in 2018, Tanzania exported 7,551 tonnes of avocados worth a total of $ 8.5 million to Europe, Africa and Asia.
ITC also reports that Tanzania’s avocado exports have shown impressive growth in recent years.
ITC estimates that most of Tanzania’s opportunities to increase avocado exports lie in the EU, where avocado accounts for 1.5 percent of agricultural exports. The largest market is the Netherlands, with untapped potential of $ 1.8 million.
The second market is France, but the export potential is already fully exploited. Japan, Switzerland, Spain, Germany, United Arab Emirates and China are other markets with untapped export potential, while the potential for avocado exports to Africa is very low. .
In August 2021, Tanzanian Prime Minister Kassim Majaliwa announced that the government was finalizing negotiations with South Africa to export avocados to the latter.
And Tanzania’s Deputy Agriculture Minister Hussein Bashe said the government was working to open up other avocado markets, including China and India.
To seize the opportunity presented by the growing international demand for avocados, Tanzania established an avocado cluster in the northern zone regions in May 2021.