"Of course eight days are not enough to get to know about these three countries, but they gave us an idea. There are two entirely different fruit and vegetable production worlds in Africa," started Piraccini.
Renzo Piraccini with a producer
The first one is that of production destined to the local market. Businesses are generally medium-small. They employ little technology and a lot of labour. They sell to retailers directly, completely skipping the wholesale step. Packaging is primitive, quality is medium-low and hygiene levels are rather low.
Businesses that export are instead medium-big, with good quality and organisation. These companies sell only their second-quality or surplus productions to the local market.
Supermarket chains are growing: they sell around 15% of the total produce available and are mostly used by the medium-high classes.
The produce is imported through three channels: local importers, mainly of Indian origin, South Africa, which works as a platform for all of Sub-Saharan Africa, and direct imports by supermarkets. Part of the produce used to arrive from Dubai in the past, but now direct imports are preferred to obtain better prices.
Tanzania, Nature Ripe
Located 40 km from Dar es Salaam, it covers 80 hectares, half of which dedicated to mangoes, papayas and guavas. "They want to plant mangoes on all the area available, this is why they have a nursery with 6,000 plants. They currently sell their productions on the domestic market, but they want to build a packaging centre and start to export. They will attend Macfrut to look at sorting machines."
It's a small company growing salad and basil hydroponically. The owner, the former manager of a phone company, decided to invest her settlement money in this project. She learned the technique in Israel, which is where she also bought the equipment.
It sells to local restaurants and supermarkets directly. It was set up a little over a year ago and is doing very well. The aim is to double the crops and widen the market.
Food Lovers Market supermarket
It's part of a South African chain with stores in Tanzania, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Botswana and Mozambique. It is also planning to expand in Ethiopia and Kenya. Quality is high and customers are middle class.
"Currently, most of the fruit comes from South Africa but a platform in Nairobi will be set up soon to import produce directly from Europe. They currently purchase apples, kiwis, citrus fruit and seedless grapes from Europe."