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APPLE production has fallen significantly owing to poor rainfall and aged plantations, the Deciduous Fruits Growers Association, has said. In an interview on Monday, association chairman Mr Edward Buwu said the country must improve its orchard management techniques to increase yields and reduce imports.

High production of apples was only realised between 1990 and 2006 when the country produced 6 500 metric tonnes from 220 hectares.

“Our output has dropped significantly owing to changes taking place at the main commercial producers such Nyanga Downs, Nyamagaya Orchards and Claremont Estates which have orchards that have been planted between 1966 and 1969,” said Mr Buwu.

“The situation has also been worsened by the influx of imports from South Africa. All imports recorded are from South Africa which is a single supplier of apples in the Southern African region markets.”

He said there was no fresh produce export trade agreements between the two countries and the imports were illegal and facilitated by third parties.

South Africa is the main apple producer in the Sadc region.

It produces 403,790 tonnes a year.

In 2010, Zimbabwe imported about 11 000 tonnes 2011 (15 000) 2012 (13000) and 12 000 tonnes in 2013.

Source : The Herald

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