Zimbabwean agro-marketing company Brands Fresh has recorded a significant decline in revenue in the first six months of this year due to depressed demand of bananas during the Covid-19 period.
The fruit distributor mainly buys fruit from farmers in Honde Valley and has cut back supply from a peak of about 40 tonnes per week to less than 10 tonnes during the same period. More than 75 percent of the crop distributed by the company is taken from Honde Valley while the rest comes from Mutorashanga, Middle Sabi and Kariba.
Brands Fresh agronomist Edward Madewekunze said the Covid-19 period had affected both the company and the banana farmers who supply them.
"This pandemic has been a major blow and everyone is feeling the effects. In March, we reduced our uptake of bananas from 40 tonnes to about 10 tonnes. But now that winter is here, uptake has reduced further to about five tonnes per week sometimes. Our Mutare market usually takes up two tonnes per week but now we only supply between 500 kgs-1 tonne per week," he said.
The market has also been affected by a drop in prices as a result of shortage of liquidity on the part of the consumers. Madewekunze said before March, they were buying them at $6,30 and went down to as low as $4 per kg. He said although prices were expected to increase during the winter due to low supply, revenues were anticipated to remain lowered.