Ariston partners ZimTrade in export drive

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LIVINGSTONE MARUFU

LISTED agricultural concern Ariston Holdings has partnered the country’s trade development and promotion organisation, ZimTrade to capacitate small scale farmers in a bid to grow the company’s and ultimately the country’s exports.

The initiative will begin at Kent Estates in Norton where the company will assist Banganyemba Farmers Association.

Speaking on the sidelines of a Kent Estate field visit in Norton last Thursday, Brian Kagondo, Ariston Holdings group human resources executive, told Business Times that the company will continue to work closely with surrounding farmers to improve productivity around the area.

“The company is involved in the export of tea, macadamia nuts and peaches among other crops and fruits to South Africa, Europe and the Asian community.

“But this time the export drive will be much bigger due to the coming into play of ZimTrade. The partnership will help capacitate local farmers to enable them to export their produce and earn foreign currency.

Kagondo said the move would boost the company’s production and its export range will be much wider given that ZimTrade also assists local companies to reach out new markets.

Ariston which was a perennial loss maker turned around its fortunes after a recapitalisation programme and despite Cyclone Idai’s damages in Chipinge and the El Nino induced drought in some parts of its farms,   the group’s 2019 agricultural season was a good one and the group’s financial position continues to improve.

The majority of Ariston’s crops are designed for the export market and as long as the group continues to focus on quality and maintaining its international accreditation the strides made in 2018 will continue to improve.

Early indications are that export prices and demand will continue to be firm during this season particularly on macadamias and tea.

Speaking at the same occasion, Vangelis Haritatos, Lands, Agriculture, Water, Climate and Rural Resettlement Deputy Minister, said the nation is in great need of foreign currency inflows and one of the ways in which the coffers could be boosted was through such type of partnerships.

“I am pleased that Banganyemba Association, SeedCo and Agritex have chosen to partner with an exporter, Ariston, to make more forex through exports.

“I hope at the next field day, we will be celebrating the export initiatives and successes of one of the members of the Association. I therefore challenge ZimTrade to facilitate the exposure of Banganyemba and other businesses in the district to export partners, markets and facilities,” said Haritatos.

Ariston which posted an after tax profit of $2,8 million in the full year to September 2018 from a loss position of $1,7 million in the prior year, on the back of cost-cutting measures and improved revenue generation, believes expanding exports will take the company to new heights.

The company is involved in the production of a variety of crops, poultry and livestock.

It operates six business estates which include Blended Tea Factory (BTF), Claremont Estate, Clearwater Estate, Kent Estate, Roscommon Estate and Southdown Estates.