- Tea sales volumes down 36%
- Better export prices for macadamia are anticipated
- Stone fruit production volumes declined by 5%
Harare – Listed agro-concern, Ariston registered contractions in production volumes in major crop segments which include tea and macadamia which contributes 83%.
The decline in production over the 6 months period to March 2020 (HY20) was attributed to low normal rainfall and incessant power cuts.
Tea production volumes were down marginally by 2% to 1870 tonnes from the prior comparable period output of 1907 tonnes.
In a statement accompanying the Group’s half year results, Group Chairperson Mr. Alexander Jongwe stated that export tea sales were affected by high global tea production volumes coupled with COVID-19 closures of companies that purchase the product.
Consequently, tea sales volumes and USD selling prices in the period declined by 36% and 8% respectively.
Given the reduced demand resulting from the effects of COVID-19, the Group believes that the low demand trend will persists for the remainder of the financial year.
Macadamia output volumes were 10% lower than those attained in the same period last year but the Group however believes that further improvements in quality will enable it to obtain better export prices.
“As at the half year end, exports made were at a price 2% higher than that achieved in the prior comparative period”, Mr Jongwe said.
He added that demand for macadamia has held firm with confirmed orders on hand for the remainder of the current year crop.
Production volumes for stone fruit dropped by 5% from 1207 tonnes achieved in HY2019 to 1149 tonnes in the current period while selling prices were 515% ahead of those in the prior comparative period.
The output for pome fruit in the period was 191% higher than that achieved in the same period last year after 896 tonnes were harvested while sales volumes as at 31 March 2020 were 159% higher than comparative period at 545 tonnes.
Production volumes for the full year are projected to be 5% ahead of prior year at 1 580 tonnes.
The other crops which account for 17% of the Group revenue which include commercial maize, seed maize, seed sugar beans, soya beans avocados, bananas and potatoes also contributed positively to the Group’s overall performance.
In spite of challenges arising mainly from COVID-19, the Group is optimistic about the second half of the year with export prices for macadamia expected to remain stable at current levels while better exports of avocado and pome fruit and higher local consumption of other crops are also anticipated.
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