BY BUSINESSES REPORTER
CHIPINGE Chamber of Small to Medium Enterprises (SMEs) has successfully launched a pineapple cluster during a training workshop which was held yesterday (28 June) at DePlaza Lodge in Chipinge.
The training workshop was attended by farmers who are interested to take up pine apple farming at a large scale and some who are already into the trade but would like to expand their business.
In her opening remarks, the Chairperson of the Chipinge Chamber of SMEs, Violet Banda, outlined the need for such a cluster.
“Our focus is to have pine apples go to the international market. When such happens, the market will call for huge tonnage from us. Also, we are looking at the issue of value addition. To achieve all this, we need a cluster of farmers. That is why we have launched this cluster,” she said.
Chipinge Business Development Officer, Ivy Chitambo, took participants through the value addition process.
“Value addition is processing what we have produced from the field so that it becomes a better product that will fetch a better market and price. Our gap as Chipinge is that we are just pushing our raw products for less value,” she said.
Nelia Chabuka of Standards Association of Zimbabwe took farmers through the process of how they can attain certification of their value added product.
“Pine apples are a sensitive product since it is consumable. Therefore it calls for aspects such as health and hygiene. Before certifying you, we will check on issues of contamination from the raw material itself up to the final product. Therefore, we will inspect on the minimum standard requirement of food products, the premises where the food is processed, records, weights and processing formulas,” she said.
Shamiso Masoka of ZimTrade outlined issues which help products to get to the international market.
“We help to find you international markets but for a product to qualify for such, we will look at its quantity, quality and certification. These days most consumers prefer organic foods and as producers you need to have such certification. Pine apples can be value added into juice, squash, wine, chutney and jam,” she said.
Financial institutions also took the opportunity to address farmers on loans accessing. Chipinge District Development Coordinator, William Mashava officially opened the launch.