The Zanzibar based Viungo Project has distributed seeds to 238 farmers to strengthen horticulture farming.

Unguja regional project Manager, Khadija Ali Juma said the first phase distribution has benefited growers of Donge, Kianga, and Kizimbani.

The project which is jointly implemented by Tamwa-Zanzibar, People’s Development Forum (PDF) and Community Pemba Forest (CPF) under the government supervision is funded by the European Union.

He said growers have long complained of inadequate expertise in the product handling, quality seeds and transportation of products.

On vanilla farming, she said 2,700 seeds have been distributed to 27 farmers each receiving 100 seeds.

Commenting on kitchen gardens, the manager said 80 farmers have shown interest and were ready to undertake the farming.

She urged the women to engage in the kitchen garden with promising production.

She said the project expects to reach 57,974 beneficiaries in 60 shehias of from Unguja and Pemba Islands of whom 55 percent are women.

A farmer Haji Abdalla Abeid, from Kizimbani, said after being trained he cultivated vanilla for commercial purposes.

He thanked the project supervisors for providing them with modern farming techniques and assuring them of the market.

“In the past, we used to grow vanilla in traditional ways, so the training will help us produce vanilla in abundance and benefit from organic farming in general,” he said.

A kitchen gardener, Maryam Juma, said that after training, she was motivated and now she and her colleagues have grown a variety of vegetables for business.

Vanilla takes three years to produce flowers and grows best in a hot humid climate at 1,500m above sea level.

It is regarded as the world’s most popular aroma and flavour compound for foods, beverages and cosmetics.

The ideal climate is moderate rainfall, 1,500mm to 3,000mm.

A kilo of quality dried vanilla sells up to Sh1.2 million in the domestic market. Reported by Madina Issa

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