Tanzania wants its cut-flowers flown directly from Arusha to Amsterdam, instead of going through Kenya, and plans negotiations with KLM to make this possible.
Local authorities say they have successfully convinced local and foreign investors to invest in flower growing in the Arusha region, but transport to EU- markets remains a serious challenge.
Over 65 percent of Tanzania’s total annual cut-flower exports meant for Europe pass through neighbouring Kenya, and are then branded as ‘produce from Kenya’ , says Magesa Mulongo, the regional commissioner for Arusha.
“As government, we see this as a challenge that needs to be addressed. We’ll be excited if one day a flight took off from Kilimanjaro International Airport loaded with flowers, cuttings and vegetables destined for the European markets”, according to Mulongo.
He hopes that KLM is willing and able to work on Tanzania’s request.
Arusha is close to Mount Meru, which offers the best environment for the production of different types of horticulture products in Tanzania. The sector employs thousands of people.
Mulongo has also called on investors to invest in packaging industries, so as to give flower producers easily access to packaging materials instead of importing them from neighbouring countries.