TANZANIA – Africado Limited, a Tanzanaian avocado producer, has secured US$2.8 million loan from Finnfund, a Finnish development finance company, to boost production.

Africado Chief Executive Officer, James Parsons, said that the funding will enable the company to expand and develop its operations and diversify into other investments.

“Finnfund’s funding of Africado has enabled Africado to pursue new investment opportunities.

In expanding production areas and with the introduction of new avocado cultivars Africado will have a sustainable business to the economic benefit of the local community in terms of employment and development and nationally e.g. in terms of increasing export earnings,” he said.

James Parsons said that the company plans to extend its avocado plantations and the operation of the present packing department as well is considering diversifying into nut production.

Finnfund’s Head of Agri and Forestry portfolio, and Senior Investment Manager, Jari Matero, said the company’s financial support is aimed at promoting growth of Africado and strengthen the development of the whole area.

“It is important to promote responsible farming methods of avocados and other crops.

With the help of Africado, the smallholders also get an important sales channel and opportunity to export their products,” Matero added.

Africado was established in 2007 as Tanzania’s first commercial and international grade producer of avocados.

The company has introduced high yielding and fast maturing avocado cultivars, Hass, through an out grower scheme to Kilimanjaro farmers- which are exported primarily to the European Union market.

Africado has worked closely with local smallholders, distributing avocado seedlings, training about good agricultural practices and providing market access for the produce.

The out grower programme currently encompasses around 2000 local farmers, in the country.

The company farms 137 hectares around the Kilimanjaro area and contracts other commercial and local small holder farmers.

Agriculture is one of Finnfund’s areas of major investments as, which according to the firm provides developing countries a great potential of ensuring sustainable development and food security.

Africado has received an international GlobalGAP certification for safe and sustainable agricultural practices enabling better penetration to the international markets

Sustainable avocado farming presents a viable alternative for Tanzania’s Kilimanjaro region farmers who have embarked on the produce following a decline in returns from the plunging price of coffee.