By Alois Vinga
DIVERSIFIED agro-industrial company, Ariston Holdings has tabled plans to improve tea quality with a view to grow the product’s exports going forward.
The development comes at a time a number of local companies are working towards growing exports in a bid to spur foreign currency earnings for internal productivity.
Presenting a trading update for the first quarter period ended December 31 2022, the entity’s company secretary, Nkosilothando Ncube said the company is set to revamp exports.
“The group has increased its focus on improving tea quality so as to grow its export sales volumes as the local economy is expected to continue to face headwinds.
“This shift in focus will result in lower tea production than in prior year in terms of overall quantity but will result in higher volumes of export grade teas than in the previous year,” said Ncube.
The group believes that increased export sales will translate to increased profitability which mitigates against the effect of the low performance of the local market on the group’s financial well-being.
The group’s financial performance for the period recorded a 27% decline in revenue compared to the prior comparative period attributable to potatoes which were sold in December in prior year whereas in the current year, these were sold in January 2023.
Early indications on macadamia production volumes and quality are showing an improvement. It is still too early to determine the indicative macadamia selling prices, however, management believes that these should be in line with the prior year depressed price and that a real recovery in macadamia prices should be more evident in 2024.
“Further, timing of poultry placements contributed to the revenue decline and the late season macadamia export in prior year boosted prior year revenue. Overall, these issues are all about differences in timing and will reverse as the year progresses,” said Ncube.