Organic agriculture and tourism can help tackle poverty, new UNCTAD report says

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Organic agriculture and tourism can help tackle poverty, new UNCTAD report says

Geneva, Switzerland, 24 September 2015

​Linking organic agriculture and tourism has a significant potential to help reduce poverty in the United Republic of Tanzania, a new UNCTAD report has found.

The report, entitled Enhancing Linkages Between the Tourism and Sustainable Agriculture Sectors in the United Republic of Tanzania, is based on a pro-poor tourism analysis, and looks at ways of generating net benefits for the poor, including unlocking opportunities by building a more supportive policy and planning framework. The report highlights opportunities to promote participation of, and bring the private sector into, pro-poor partnerships by providing jobs to local people and purchasing local agricultural products.

Tourism is a notable source of income for Tanzania. On average, international tourists stay about 10 days in the country, spending a total of US$1,691 per visitor. The report notes the lodging, food and beverage sectors together account for about 20 per cent of tourism-related income in the country. This represents a large opportunity for pro-poor businesses because organic agricultural products are in high demand by tourists and often provide price-premiums to producers.

The report looked into conditions for better linkages in particular between the Tanzanian horticultural sector and the local tourism industry. Based on interviews with key stakeholders it found that factors such as price, quality, supply predictability and reliability of delivery played a key role in the horticultural sector. It was also noted that, despite the ability of local small-scale farmers to supply fresh and high quality products and the existing demand from restaurants and hotels, there were no direct supply channels bridging buyers and sellers. Overall, a lack of direct communication channels and bottlenecks or inefficiencies in the supply chain were identified as the main constraints holding back the development of the horticultural sector and preventing it from reaching the local tourism industry.

Key recommendations to harness the joint potential of tourism and organic agriculture include:

• Raising awareness and building capacity to attain a better understanding of the linkages between tourism and agriculture.
• Establishing public–private partnerships with destination stakeholders as key components in the implementation of pro-poor tourism practices. This strategy relies on collective commitment, strategic partnerships, effective institutional arrangements and facilitating processes.
• Promoting pro-poor tourism and branding. This strategic theme focuses on the need to promote tourism products, experiences and destinations in Tanzania that benefit local people through effective and robust marketing plans and branding.

The report was produced by UNCTAD and funded by the Swiss State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO), as part of the United Nations Inter-Agency Cluster on Trade and Productive Capacity, and the Ministry of Industry and Trade of Tanzania.