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Tomatoes are the largest vegetable crop in Tanzania, grown across much of the country with significant production from smallholder farmers. However, varieties grown in Tanzania often offer poor resistance to pests and diseases and produce low yields. Moreover, tomatoes can be fragile and thus easily damaged in the transportation process. For this reason, they also have a relatively short shelf life. To support the growth of a tomato value chain which will overcome these obstacles to tomato production and benefit smallholder farmers, SAGCOT initiated a new strategic partnership in May 2015: the Tomato Partnership, which will run in the Ihemi Cluster (Iringa and Njombe regions). Darsh Industries, a tomato processor based in Ihemi, will work with a coalition of SAGCOT partners to mobilise more than 10,000 smallholder farmers.The Partnership will operate across the value chain: tomatoes will be processed into finished and semi-finished goods including tomato paste in cans and aseptic bags, tomato sauce and ketchup. A new tomato-processing centre in Iringa will begin production in Q4 2015 onward. The factory has the capacity to process 200 tons of tomatoes per day into tomato paste. Darsh Industries is already working with smallholders and village leaders in the surrounding area to identify tomato suppliers and build tomato collection centres. Collection centres are an important element of the partnership, helping to increase smallholder famers’ bargaining power, as they are no longer obliged to accept low prices offered by middlemen.
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Read More Tomato Value Chain | Swahili