Tanzania: Forced over-packing of onions still disadvantages farmers

Onion growers in Tanzania are up in arms against over-packing of the produce by traders, saying the practice cause them huge financial losses in the business that yields over 40 bln annually. Though the produce brings in huge revenues when exported to neighboring countries, the fact that buyers force farmers to over-pack their sacks just serves to drive growers further into poverty, representatives say.

That was among the concerns raised by vegetable growers at Ilkiding'a ward of Arumeru district at a ceremony to launch an onion growers' cluster, an initiative hatched by the Tanzania Horticultural Association (TAHA), which oversees horticultural activities.

Ilkiding'a onion growers' union secretary, Evelyn Mollel, has stated they had started to work with the apex body on the problem: “We are already benefiting from a training series provided by TAHA, as it also working to strengthen our union for better products and a reliable market in future.”

She expressed concern that farmers are still compelled to over-pack their sacks as demanded by buyers so that a single pack could actually carry twice the volume of onions that would enter into the same bag packing to ordinary capacity. "Therefore farmers end up being the losers. It is like selling a consignment at half the price, or selling two sacks at the price of one, and growers compete in stuffing their consignments with extra onions," she told ippmedia.com.

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