3. Tanzania: Local farmers break into international wine market (East African, Tanzania Daily News)

| March 29, 2010

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Farmers in Tanzania have a new reason to raise their glasses. Local grape farmers are now supplying the country’s largest winery. And the fruits of their labour will be tasted around the world.

Tanzania Distilleries has begun producing its first international brand. It’s a semi-sweet white wine called Overmeer. The wine is made from grapes grown in Dodoma.

Dodoma is the only grape-growing region in Tanzania. The highlands have the right soil and climate for grapes.

Martha Bangu is brand manager for Tanzania Distilleries. She explains that the company started purchasing local grapes in 2006, when it began testing the new brand. Ms. Bangu says the company wanted to empower local farmers.

The farmers now have a ready market for their grapes. They have also been supported to hone their craft. Viticulture experts from South Africa visited Dodoma to train farmers. Improved techniques will help Dodoma’s farmers increase the quality of their grapes and the size of their yields.

Tanzania is the second-largest producer of wine in Africa. South Africa is the largest.