This is the time of year that fruit trees abscise superfluous fruit, the so-called November drop. What if a farmer could get an income from the small fruit annually shed by mandarin, grapefruit and orange trees?
Vincent Keesenberg of Origin Fruit (Pty) Ltd and Sarah Naidu of the Havillah Group (Pty) Ltd are sole agents to procure citrus fruit droppings for a company in India that extracts cells from the rind.
The extracted product is then sent to a French company which uses it in their formulation of a drug used in chemotherapy, assisting white blood cells of cancer patients.
Origin Fruit is looking for dropped fruit of a diameter of 3cm and smaller from mandarin, grapefruit and orange trees (but not lemons, limes or kumquats) – which anyway should be removed as part of orchard sanitation.
The little fruit can be either fresh or dried out.
Origin Fruit can offer a workable price per tonne, including collection of the fruit droppings on the farm.
Vincent says that the product is required all through the year and demand is strong.
Moreover, he notes that the exporting process of the product is vastly easier than for the fresh fruit because the ‘fruit droppings’ are first dried at a facility in Durban before being shipped to India (pictured right).
The function of the fruit droppings is not affected by spray programmes and they do not need to be sorted by the producer.
Vincent explains that a new income avenue from previously discarded fruit has a lot of synergy with aspects like social responsibility and the possibility of capital it could provide to citrus growers, particularly new entrants to the citrus industry.
For more information:
Marketing & Export Director
Origin Fruit (Pty) Ltd
Tel: +27 82 561 3278