Farmers in Manicaland Province have been urged to increase production of pineapples following the opening and expansion of a canning plant in Mutare.

A Mutare-based food processing and canning company, Associated Foods Zimbabwe has opened up a window of opportunities for pineapple farmers in the area amid indications that the local market is failing to satisfy demand.

Acting Manicaland provincial development coordinator Edger Seenza revealed the company is getting most of its requirements from Mozambique.

“Having realised that Associated Foods Zimbabwe in Mutare needs pineapples, an arrangement was made between Manicaland and Manica province to import pineapples from Mozambique. The company requires more than 200 tonnes of pineapples per year and inorder to meet the requirements, the company is importing. So far 120 tonnes have been imported under the deal,” he said.

Mr Seenza said efforts by the food processing firm to contract farmers in Chimanimani were affected by Cyclone Idai, adding that more local farmers should take up the challenge to reduce the import bill.

“Some farmers have been contracted by Associated Foods Zimbabwe to grow pineapples but unfortunately they were affected by the cyclone in Chimanimani. We urge the farmers in Manicaland to grow pineapples and take advantage of the ready market,” he said.

The growing of pineapples in the province is expected to contribute towards the growth of the local food and canning industry.