TANZANIA – The Tanzanian government has started repossessing abandoned horticulture estates in the Arusha Region as part of its plan to revitalize and boost the multi-million-dollar sector.
Industry players have always alleged that the closure of these farms deprived the economy of US$20 million in expert revenue per year.
In the decisive action, the government said it is going to retake two of the commercial farms, while the other five will have to wait as they have pending cases in court.
The minister for Agriculture, Hussein Bashe, said the government has decided to intervene to get the farms back in production.
The state will ensure that terminal benefits amounting to billions of shillings for hundreds of workers forced into redundancy are paid.
“I want to assure you the government has not failed to address uncertainties regarding the closed farms,” Mr. Bashe said in response to concerns raised on the ruined farms.
Mr. Bashe added that the process of settling Sh3.4 billion, the terminal benefits of hundreds of former employees at the farm, has started and will be settled within a month.
Kiliflora Usa River, Kiliflora Nduruma, and Arusha Blooms alone are reported to have accumulated bank loans amounting to Sh29.8 billion not paid back.
After settling the farmers, the Ministry of Agriculture will retake the farm, which will, in turn, hand it over to new investors.
Kiliflora was one of the oldest flower farms in the country and used to generate US$6.4 million annually for exports at its peak.
According to the Bank of Tanzania (BoT), the country earned US$289.6 million from horticulture exports last year, however; it was a drop from the US$378.6 million that was exported in the previous year (2021).