Company in hot soup over buying, dumping unripe avocado

AGRICULTURE Minister, Mr Hussein Bashe has ordered an arrest of the owner of Kandia Fresh Company located in Njombe Region and closure of the firm after the company bought unripe avocados and dumped them at the Maheve dumpsite in Njombe Town Council.

Minister Bashe gave the order yesterday when he visited the region during which he spoke to journalists about the incident. His decision followed a video clip showing a bunch of avocados dumped at a landfill.

Mr Bashe further banned the company from buying and selling the avocado inside and outside the country.

He also ordered the arrest of the manager, David Baraza, while a team of experts from the ministry continues to carry out a detailed investigation after the video clip went viral online showing avocado fruits being dumped at the Njombe City Council’s dumpsite.

He said trust in Tanzanian avocado in the global market was decreasing, hence  people’s tendency of buying unripe avocados, will further fail Tanzania’s avocado business in the global market.

He said it is forbidden to harvest unripe avocados, because there is no market for them.

Njombe District Commissioner, Kissa Kasongwa, said farmers who bought the unripe avocados were arrested for two offenses of tax evasion and buying 11.5 tonnes of immature avocados without permit, translating that they do not meet quality in the market.

The Assistant Director of Crop Development Department in the Ministry of Agriculture, Mr Samson Poneja, said the ministry officials arrived in the region after receiving reports that there was a buyer who bought avocados below the required standards and threw them onto the dumpsite.

“The ministry has been saddened, bearing in mind efforts that are being made to find more reliable markets in various countries for local products, including the avocados, so the acts like this weakens those efforts,” he said.

Mr Poneja noted that the ministry was following up on the source of the problem through meeting buyer, farmers, leaders, take up stakeholders’ opinions and some experts to understand the reasons for buying unripe avocados.

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