Zimbabwe: Covid-19 Affects Ariston’s Fresh Fruit Sales

Senior Business Reporter

Listed agro-processor, Ariston Holdings, says the second lockdown had a negative impact on its fresh fruit sales, with a large quantity of the product having to be sold at lower prices.

The group’s fruit category comprises of stone fruit and bananas.

“The lockdown measures introduced by Government in January 2021 have had a very negative impact on sale of fresh fruit,” said Ariston in its first quarter trading update

“Accordingly, a disproportionately larger volume of stone fruit has had to be sent to processors at reduced selling prices.”

The January 2021, 31-day lockdown, which has since been extended by another two weeks, had been necessitated by a second wave of Covid-19 infections. To date Zimbabwe has recorded 34 552 cases and 1 326 deaths, with the majority of these cases and deaths coming between December 2020 and January 2021.

But despite the ravaging health pandemic, the group has continued to operate as an essential service. And management has said “harvesting and production is progressing well, with volumes predicted to be ahead of prior year.”

For the quarter to December 31, 2020 Ariston’s revenue performance (the group’s revenue remains predominantly foreign currency denominated) improved by 98 percent in inflation adjusted terms, “owing to the sharp increase in sales of tea, fruit and maize.”

This performance was underpinned by volumes increases across most of the group’s segments.