In an attempt to secure a sustainable and profitable future, Tanganda Tea Estates, farmed in the fertile and majestic Eastern Highlands of Zimbabwe is embarking on a major diversification programme on all five estates. Under-utilised land, including some tea gardens which are producing low yields, are being prepared to plant coffee, macadamias and avocadoes and this area has the perfect environment for these crops.
The western estate, New Year's Gift, already has 120 hectares of macadamias on its lands with 60 hectares being planted this year and a further 60 by the end of 2012. The plan is to interplant macadamias with coffee as these only become viable after six years, while coffee trees start producing beans after three years, enabling the plantations to become financially sound sooner.
Tingamira Estate will be the home of avocado plantations, with 36 hectares already planted, with an additional 400 hectares within the next 18 months.
At Hellvetia on Ratelshoek Estate, 45 hectares of macadamias have been planted and within 12 months an estimated 220 hectares will have been sown. The most eastern Tanganda Estate is Jersey, located on the Mozambican border which will have 90 hectares of coffee, and will be interplanted with macadamias this year with a further 90 by the end of 2012.
It is intended that these three plantation crops will be exported throughout the world and the coffee factories at Jersey and New Year's Gift will be expanded and modernised, while macadamia nut factories will be established on these two estates. An avocado pack shed with suitable cold rooms is being designed and will be built on Avontuur Estate, adjacent to the Tingamira factgory. Coffee is the second most traded commodity in the world after oil and will be sold on tender with a close watch being made on prices on the New York Coffee Exchange (NYCE). Avocados will primarily be sent to Europe with France being the major importer and macadamias will be sold worldwide on tender.
Macadamias and avocados are extremely healthy and apart from being edible, they are able to have oil extracted in order to produce a variety of body creams.