MANGO fruits, famed for their succulent and mouthwatering taste, have awakened the once sleepy district of Mutoko into a hive of business activities with motorists and juice companies flooding the area in search of the tropical fruit.
Report by Jairos Saunyama
Moneybags in Mutoko are now brimming as the golden fruit ripens. It is nothing else, but the mango fruit which has become the major source of cash for households in Mutoko.
Smiles have been brought back to the people of Mutoko, an area located about 143km east of the capital, as time for them to make “big money” has arrived.
Women, sometimes barefooted and with babies strapped on their backs, are seen braving the intense heat and at the same time jostling for customers with every car or commuter omnibus that passes by.
Such is a routine for the women who, by sunset, are substituted by their children who by then would have left school.
The kids will be carrying dishes and tins full of the fruit for sale.
On the other hand, a number of trucks have become a common feature along the Harare-Nyamapanda highway as they visit the area to harvest the delicious fruit for resale at designated points in the elite suburbs of Harare.
In Mutoko and surrounding areas, a bucket of the fruit costs around $3 while a 5litre container is going for a dollar.
But vendors who sell the golden fruit in the capital are selling the 5litre container of mangoes for $4.
Women in Mutoko who trade at Mutoko centre said they are earning a lot of money through selling mangoes.
“This is our time to make money. God blessed us indeed because this area produces the earliest mango fruit and this means we are the first to hit the market in the country.
“On a normal day, I collect around $90. On rare occassions, I find a customer from Harare who buys in bulk and I can get around $200,” said 41-year old Martha Kashumba.
“I can pay my children’s school fees for the whole year through selling mangoes.Most people come here to collect mangoes and this is good for me.”
“I can sell the fruits and get money before the rains hit the ground for I will be in the fields.I have been on this road for two weeks selling mangoes, but I have sold enough to pay school fees and to prepare for the festive season,” said Kizito Mavara.
Some of the buyers who spoke to NewsDay said they travelled all the way from Harare to buy the fruit.
“Mutoko is well known for producing the best mangoes in the country and they are also cheap,” said Jason Chihwai.
Another vendor from Harare, Thabani Ndlovu, said: “This area produces the earliest fruits. And this has seen a lot of mango vendors who battle for customers.”
“Because of the abundance of the fruit, the prices are dipping and this motivated us to buy in bulk for re-sell at Mbare Musika.”
In Zimbabwe the fruit is common in the summer season nowonder it is sometimes called the “Christmas gift”.