HomeBusiness DigestHorticultural outfit enters Dubai

Horticultural outfit enters Dubai

BY SILAS NKALA                                                                                                        GREEN Afrique Technologies, a Zimbabwean horticultural outfit that has made significant forays ianto the European markets, said this week it had clinched a deal to export granadilla to Dubai.

Under the deal, produce from the Bulawayo-based firm’s farms would be channelled into the Middle East trading hub through Farmgate World, the formerly Zimbabwe Stock Exchange-listed horticultural giant, Interfresh.

Farmgate has made extensive inroads into Dubai, in addition to several lucrative markets globally.

Green Afrique chief executive officer Anglistone Sibanda told businessdigest that the deal gave his firm scope to concentrate on production, with Farmgate handling and distributing granadilla into one of the world’s biggest markets.

He said the Middle East transaction would give impetus to the firm’s ambition to generate foreign currency for the economy, riding on better deals being offered in that market.

“We have secured a deal with Interfresh (Farmgate) to export to Dubai,” Sibanda said.

“The terms are favourable and the prices are more lucrative than those prevailing on the European markets. This is a major boost  and motivation for us. There is no limit to the quantities and it is up to us to produce more and we are engaging more and more farmers into the project,” he added.

Green Afrique works with several smallholder farmers who send produce to the firm.

“We are reaching out to more young farmers. The market has a huge and unlimited appetite for our organically grown products and we will also be expanding the scope and producing other fruits like blueberries, gooseberries,” Sibanda said.

“We are contracting more farmers and have since reviewed our targets upwards. We want to put at least 200 hectares under passion fruit.”

He was not at liberty to disclose the volumes of fruits to be exported this year under the deal. Farmgate World is one of Zimbabwe’s horticultural exporters.

It was one of the first macadamia exporters to the European and Chinese markets in the years that followed Zimbabwe’s land reform programme, which started in 2000.

The firm has since expanded into more fresh produce.

“We have partnered with a very well-established company in Dubai who saw opportunity in Zimbabwe for quality citrus and has since been on board,” Farmgate says in a business plan seen by businessdigest.

“We are currently one of the leading exporters of citrus into the Middle East after our sister company’s acquisition of Mazowe Citrus Estates.

“We have also gone into joint ventures with citrus out-growers all over Zimbabwe to help satisfy the demand of the Middle East.

“Farmgate World has also ventured into importing fruit from all over the world. Our 2022 goal is to make it possible to have out of season fruits readily available to the Zimbabwean market throughout the year.

“We have started by importing container loads of apples and grapes from the Middle East to satisfy just the local demand,” Farmgate says.

Green Afrique has put 100 hectares under granadilla this year in Binga in partnership with the community trust.

Sibanda said the firm was expecting to set up a juicing plant at Dinde near Hwange town in the future to create a local economic development hub, as part of the firm’s ambition to increase production.

He said at full scale the project will rake in millions of dollars in foreign currency into the country, creating employment for hundreds of people in the communities it has partnered in the project.

The firm was expecting to groom and support at least 100 small-scale farmers across the country.

“To date about 70 farmers across the country have signed up and we still need 30 more to get to 100 initial farmers, then scale up in our next phase and eventually get to 500 farmers doing high value crops, value add and export,” he said.

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