• 1,830 tonnes of tea were produced, a 14% improvement
  • the Group acquired a macadamia scanning machine for macadamia value addition
  • Narrowed loss for the year to 2 million

Harare- Ariston Holdings Limited, a diversified agricultural company, has reported a 14% increase in tea production during the half-year ended March 31, 2024. The company produced 1,830 tonnes of tea, up from 1,599 tonnes in the prior comparative period.

Despite poor rainfall, which saw a 19% decrease in year-to-date rainfall for the Chipinge estates and a 21% decrease for the Norton estate, the company was able to achieve a 6% improvement in the average selling price of export tea and production in general.

This, combined with a 40% increase in local tea sales volumes, helped the company narrow its net loss to US$2.1 million from US$2.4 million in the prior period.

However, export tea volumes declined by 56%, leading to a 53% drop in export tea revenue. This resulted in group’s revenue declining by 7% to US$2.4.

“The decline in revenue posted, coupled with the 27% increase in the cost of production resulted in the Group posting a gross loss during the period,” said the group.

Macadamia production volumes were 4% below the prior comparative period at 603 tonnes. No current season macadamia nuts had been sold as of March 31, 2024, as the season commences in April.

To address this, the company has commissioned macadamia scanning equipment in April 2024, in time for the current year's macadamia selling season.

This will allow the company to better assess the quality of macadamia nuts before export, enabling it to price the nuts more effectively.

In response to the dry spell, the company opted not to grow other products, such as potatoes, to preserve dam water for the commercial row crops that were planted under irrigation. This resulted in a decline in revenue generated from other products.

The company's chairperson, Alexander Jongwe, stated that the three joint ventures, Bonemarrow Investments (Private) Limited, Claremont Orchards Holdings (Private) Limited, and Mombe Shoma (Private) Limited, contributed positively to the group's performance.

Looking ahead, the company expects the operating environment to remain challenging and will continue to focus on cost control measures while driving revenue.

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