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Tanzanian Company Helps Open New Tomato Markets

In Tanzania, Darsh Industries Ltd is a leading manufacturer of fruit and vegetable products. Having rapidly expanded since its founding in 1999, Darsh Industries was the first to introduce tomato paste to the Tanzanian market and is now the country’s biggest tomato processor, producing between 50 and 100 tons per day of tomato ketchup and paste in its Arusha facility.

The market for improved tomatoes, especially the types that are sold to processors, is growing rapidly in the region. Despite Darsh Industries’ success to date, the company is obliged to import 70 percent of its tomato pulp from China, as it cannot source enough tomatoes locally to keep its production lines open.

In November 2013, Darsh Industries applied for and received a grant from the Agriculture Fast Track Fund (a multilateral activity under the New Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition) to support planning surveys and assessments for a proposed $6.7 million investment in a new tomato processing facility in Iringa, located in central Tanzania. The new plant will double the company’s production capacity.

To supply the new facility, Darsh Industries will source ‘Tanya’ tomatoes grown by approximately 3,800 smallholder farmers – 40 percent of whom are women – in the irrigated land of Tanzania’s Baobab ecozone. ‘Tanya’, developed by The World Vegetable Center, is a cultivated variety that offers the firmness, size, shape, color, uniformity andtaste the company seeks in a processing tomato. ‘Tanya’ tomatoes also have a long shelf life compared to other varieties, which means they can be transported to distant markets and arrive in good condition. To ensure farmers will have enough seed to continue planting and harvesting this preferred variety, Darsh Industries will separate and save ‘Tanya’ seed from the pulp it processes at its Arusha plant, helping to scale up seed production and reduce waste.

This story was originally featured in The World Vegetable Center’s May Newsletter. Learn more about how the New Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition is linking smallholder farmers in Africa to the private sector.

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