AFZ to in­tro­duce pineap­ple out­grower scheme

The Manica Post - - Business News - Sharon Chigeza Post Cor­re­spon­dent

AS­SO­CI­ATED Foods Zim­babwe (AFZ) has plans to es­tab­lish a pineap­ple out­grower pro­gramme with smallscale farm­ers in Man­i­ca­land who will sup­ply their produce to its jam pro­cess­ing plant.

Speak­ing on the side­lines of the com­pany’s launch of its ISO 22000 Food Safety Sys­tem cer­ti­fi­ca­tion, AFZ op­er­a­tions man­ager, Mr Joseph Mavu said they were work­ing on es­tab­lish­ing the cor­rect pineap­ple va­ri­eties for jam pro­cess­ing in the re­gion as they had been re­ly­ing on im­ports all along.

“AFZ is a wholly owned in­dige­nous Zim­bab­wean com­pany, and we hope to main­tain that in­dige­nous fac­tor from crop to fi­nal prod­uct, hence our plans to es­tab­lish of the out­grower pro­gramme with farm­ers in Honde Val­ley and Chi­man­i­mani,” he said.

Mr Mavu said the com­pany would have come up with an ac­tion plan and time­line for the pro­gramme by year end tar­get­ing small-scale farm­ers in Honde Val­ley and Chi­man­i­mani ar­eas that have ex­cel­lent con­di­tions for the fruit to thrive and were also in the process of iden­ti­fy­ing the cor­rect pineap­ple va­ri­ety for jam pro­cess­ing.

“Farm­ers in Chi­man­i­mani have been grow­ing pineap­ples on a small scale, but have been pro­duc­ing pineap­ple va­ri­eties suit­able for juic­ing and fresh fruit mar­kets not for pro­cess­ing.

“We are in the process of iden­ti­fy­ing the most suit­able pineap­ple va­ri­ety from within and across the borders for our pro­cess­ing plant,” said Mr Mavu.

AFZ has been im­port­ing pineap­ples fol­low­ing an agree­ment be­tween the gov­ern­ments of Zim­babwe and Mozam­bique in June to al­low agri­cul­tural produce to be trans­ported into Man­i­ca­land for value ad­di­tion.

The com­pany re­ceives 90 to 95 per­cent of its fruit sup­plies from six districts in the prov­ince.

In Buhera, AFZ is also in­vest­ing in ground­nut pro­duc­tion for peanut but­ter pro­cess­ing.

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