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Green Afrique Tech promotes production of high-value fruits

Green Afrique Tech

BULAWAYO company Green Afrique Technologies which produces passion fruit, popularly known as granadilla is now looking at producing the kiwano horned melon (amagaki/magaka) and dragon fruit, which are popular on international markets as it aims to widen its market base.

The company’s chief executive officer, Anglistone Sibanda told NewsDay Farming that the company had developed a network of over 100 farmers across the country, adding that the number keeps growing.

“The company has started another mobilisation and capacity building of local farmers to grow these high-value fruits. Ranked number eight in the Passionbuzz's 2023 top 10 world's most expensive fruits released on 1 January 2023, is the kiwano horned melon locally known as amagaki/ magaka. The fruit is a compound fruit and a super food that consists of very important vitamins and minerals such as vitamin A, vitamin B6, vitamin C, proteins, carbohydrates, fat, low calories, zinc, magnesium, iron, phosphorus and potassium,” Sibanda said.

“Kiwano melon is native to southern Africa and common in Zimbabwe. According to Green Afrique Market studies, Kiwano melon is fetching between US$5-$7 each in the United States of America and about £3-£5 in the United Kingdom where it is imported from New Zealand and Australia. Companies that took it from southern Africa and registered it in New Zealand in 1944 started commercial farming of the fruit.”

Sibanda said the fruit was of high value in food and nutrition as it helped in stabilising blood sugars and in controlling heart ailments among other benefits that include anti-ageing.

He said the kiwano melon was a strategic food and nutrition fruit that has the potential to help Zimbabwe achieve its National Development Strategy 1 goals on food security and nutrition while generating revenue for low-income rural communities.

“Green Afrique is driving the commercial farming of this magical, yet despised fruit in its original natural environment in Zimbabwe, and agronomic studies have proved that one hectare of kiwano melon can produce up to 20 metric tonnes within four months, which has a potential gross turnover of at least US$40 000 for the farmers.

“The other fruit being promoted by Green Afrique Technologies is the dragon fruit, an exotic fruit originally from South America like passion fruit, which is popular in Vietnam and is also found in Asian countries like Thailand. Dragon fruit is also found in Zimbabwe in the wild and some people grow it as flowers at their homes."

Sibanda said Zimbabweans were unaware of the nutritional value of the fruit and often associated it with snakes because the fruits often attract birds, which create a good hunting ground for snakes.

It falls under the cactus family and grows like a vine, and has anti-ageing properties, while its plants do not need much water.

“One hectare of dragon fruit can produce between 18 and 30 metric tonnes per year from seven months to up to 30-40 years and on average, a farmer can fetch between $40 000-$100 000 per year,” Sibanda said.

He said the fruit had transformed lives in Kenya and Zimbabwe because of good climatic conditions.

Last week, Green Afrique Technologies exported its first 420 kilogrammes of the granadilla fruit to the UK and aims to build a multi-million-dollar fruit business in Bulawayo.

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