Cash Crops – Economy of Tanzania

Cash Crops in Tanzania: Driving Agricultural Economy

Tanzania’s economy is significantly influenced by the cultivation and export of various cash crops. These crops play a crucial role in providing income to farmers, contributing to foreign exchange earnings, and supporting the overall economic development of the country.

The cultivation of cash crops is often a key component of smallholder farming systems in Tanzania. While these crops bring economic benefits, challenges such as price volatility, market access, and the impact of climate change on agricultural productivity are areas of concern. Government initiatives and international collaborations aim to address these challenges and promote sustainable practices in the cultivation and export of cash crops.

Major Cash Crops of Tanzania


Tanzania is known for its high-quality Arabica and Robusta coffee beans. Coffee cultivation is primarily concentrated in the regions of Kilimanjaro, Mbeya, and Arusha. The coffee sector is a vital source of income for smallholder farmers and contributes substantially to the country’s foreign exchange earnings.


Tea is another important cash crop grown in Tanzania. The Southern Highlands, Iringa, and Mbeya regions are major tea-producing areas. The Tanzanian tea industry has seen growth, and tea exports contribute significantly to the country’s economy.


Cotton is grown in various regions, and the cotton industry contributes to both the textile and garment sectors. Cotton cultivation provides income for farmers and supports the development of the textile industry in the country.


Sisal is a fiber obtained from the leaves of the agave plant. Tanzania is one of the leading producers of sisal in Africa. Sisal cultivation is primarily concentrated in the Tanga and Morogoro regions, and the fiber is used for various industrial applications.

Cashew nuts

Cashew nuts are a valuable export commodity for Tanzania. The cashew industry supports the livelihoods of many farmers, particularly in the coastal regions. Efforts have been made to add value to the cashew sector by promoting local processing.


Tobacco is cultivated in various regions of Tanzania, with farmers involved in both small-scale and large-scale production. The tobacco industry is an important source of income and employment in certain areas, although concerns about health implications and sustainable farming practices are recognized.

Horticultural Products

Tanzania also exports a variety of horticultural products, including fruits and vegetables. Products like bananas, avocados, and vegetables contribute to both domestic consumption and export revenue.