MOZAMBIQUE –  AfriFruta, a dried mangoes and coconut export company, has become the first private partner of the Feed the Future Market Systems and Partnerships (MSP) Activity under their partnership facility with the USAID Southern Africa Regional Mission.

The partnership facility which currently has 5 active partners is designed to leverage South Africa’s advanced economy and financial system to support mutually beneficial trade and investment in the southern African region, or to the United States.

The goal of the two-year partnership is to expand the availability of other, more productive mango varieties in the province of Inhambane.

AfriFruta has attained multiple benefits in its previous work with MSP including the introduction of diverse mango varieties—Brooks, Tommy Atkins, Kent, and Keitt—extending the harvest window beyond that of the commonly available Reiner variety hence benefitting both farmers’ and processors’ ability to maximize trade opportunities.

Moreover, the company has since distributed new varieties of mango seedlings to over 2,573 smallholder farmers, primarily women and also established a 10-hectare nucleus gene orchard near its facility, outlines a LinkedIn post by MSP.

Afrifruta has also successfully piloted 40 MT of fresh fruit exports to South Africa, showcasing the potential for market growth through extended-season varieties.

Through the partnership, AfriFruta aims to export over 200 MT of mangoes by 2026 with projected tree crop sales of USD 248,000 by 2026, with the aim of expanding the population of productive mango trees and solidifying diverse income generation streams of participating communities for years to come.

Lessons Learned from the Partnership

Afrifruta perceives the partnership as a testament of an impressive learning curve. According to the company, partnering with smallholder farmers is a good business model, but it requires resolute contact and training.

“Farmers would call to remind me of when to do things with their trees or to ask questions. This has proven to AfriFruta that there is serious interest in this line of business, and if we were to design the partnership again, we would focus on fewer farmers, but providing significantly increased training and resources to them,” explained Jaco Le Roux, CEO of AfriFruta.

The company has also learned the value of integrating supplier insight surveys into the partnership model.

In Le Roux’s view, this is a requirement for all MSP partnerships and AfriFruta’s survey helped the company realize that their initial grafting model was not working and instead, it pivoted to distributing seedlings which proved to be much more successful.

“We learned that opening up communications channels with suppliers helps us check our assumptions,” said Le Roux.

“MSP applied this learning to one of our partners in the Solomon Islands who was also planning to do grafting.”

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