AFZ to introduce pineapple outgrower scheme
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.