Brands Fresh seeks to ven­ture into pineap­ple pro­duc­tion

The Manica Post - - Business News - Emmah Chinya­mu­tan­gira Busi­ness Cor­re­spon­dent

AGRO-MAR­KET­ING com­pany, Brands Fresh, is seek­ing Gov­ern­ment as­sis­tance to fi­nance a pineap­ple project in Mu­tasa district. The pineap­ple project will sup­ple­ment ba­nana pro­duc­tion as a way to boost eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment in ru­ral com­mu­ni­ties.

Speak­ing at a farmer’s ap­pre­ci­a­tion day in Honde Val­ley last week, Brands Fresh gen­eral man­ager Mr Isaac Wisikoti said the com­pany was in­ter­ested in con­tract­ing ba­nana farm­ers to ven­ture into pineap­ple pro­duc­tion for sale on the lo­cal mar­ket.

He said Zim­bab­wean farm­ers had not been able to meet de­mand for pineap­ples, yet Honde Val­ley had ex­cel­lent con­di­tions for the fruit to thrive.

“Ba­si­cally we need the Gov­ern­ment to as­sist us fi­nan­cially in the pineap­ple project. As an or­gan­i­sa­tion we are strug­gling to fi­nance some of these farm­ers so we need sup­port in the form of in­puts such as fer­tilis­ers, farm­ing equip­ment and ex­ten­sion ser­vices for the farm­ers,” he said.

Mr Wisikoti ap­plauded Gov­ern­ment’s ef­fort to sup­port hor­ti­cul­ture pro­duc­tion in the 2019 Na­tional Bud­get.

He said farm­ers who were pro­duc­ing pineap­ples in Honde Val­ley were do­ing it at a small scale.

He said the farm­ers should be ca­pac­i­tated to ven­ture into large scale pro­duc­tion through the pro­vi­sion of the nec­es­sary in­puts and ma­chin­ery.

“We had a four-year train­ing between 2012 and 2016 on ba­nana pro­duc­tion, so we hope to have a sim­i­lar train­ing fo­cus­ing on pineap­ples.

“We need more agron­o­mists who will ca­pac­i­tate the farm­ers to give them the right knowl­edge and in­for­ma­tion on how to ob­tain and main­tain qual­ity stan­dards in the fruit pro­duc­tion. This will boost the hor­ti­cul­ture sec­tor as well as at­tract se­ri­ous buy­ers,” he said.

Mr Wisikoti said the com­pany had part­nered with mi­cro-fi­nance in­sti­tu­tions who wanted to sup­port farm­ers, most of whom needed cap­i­tal to buy pack shades to re­duce mul­ti­ple han­dling of the ba­nanas to in­crease qual­ity.

Pineap­ple farm­ing is an­other sure money maker.

Pineap­ple is a highly valu­able fruit among Zim­bab­weans, and also a highly lu­cra­tive crop to grow be­cause it is sold for both do­mes­tic con­sump­tion and for pro­duc­tion of fruit juice.

Thou­sands of fruit juices are made with pineap­ple and lo­cal fruit juice man­u­fac­tur­ers are al­ways on the look­out for pineap­ple farms where they could buy their raw ma­te­rial.

The crop is re­garded as ed­i­ble gold in coun­tries like Nige­ria, Tan­za­nia and South Africa, where it is grown at com­mer­cial scale.

The crop thrives in deep sandy loam, but could also be grown on other soil types pro­vided or­ganic mat­ter is added and it’s free of wa­ter log­ging con­di­tions.

It is fairly drought re­sis­tant, but per­forms best in an area with a well distributed rain­fall of at least 1000mm per an­num. It en­joys hu­mid con­di­tions and prefers soil with good wa­ter re­ten­tion abil­ity.

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