Over the past decade, Mozambique has proven itself to be the world’s highest quality and lowest cost commercial producer of tropical fruit, specifically bananas. The industry has also shown resilience in effectively mitigating diseases by introducing tolerant varieties and adopting a set of sustainable cultural practices that further limit the impact and spread of Panama and other diseases in bananas.
Jacaranda Agricultura has taken up an anchor investor role for bananas in the north, taking over from the previous Matanuska banana plantation that suffered from Panama Disease. This anchor investor is critical as it not only signals to other potential agriculture investors that Mozambique is an attractive location for ag-investment, but also helps develop the fruit value chain in the north, thus driving up export volumes which is critical for shipping lines to make Nacala a port of call. Jacaranda has worked to address possible diseases, grow bananas, hire thousands of workers, and secure export markets in the Middle East, currently producing about 40 containers of export quality bananas per week.
However, shipping industry dynamics due to COVID-19, challenges around the Nacala Port and other business environment issues have been challenging Jacaranda’s business model lately, potentially forcing Jacaranda into bankruptcy as well as the loss of thousands of jobs. At a time when domestic extremism challenges the north and threatens further southward expansion from Cabo Delgado into Nampula, keeping valuable formal sector jobs may help to keep the violent extremism from expanding southward and seeking to ensnare a vast swath of unemployed population.
This report aims at (1) assisting Jacaranda develop responses to the shipping challenges in order to export bananas; (2) identifying demand and address investment obstacles to attracting other fruit industries to the region to create employment and increase demand for shipping lines to return to Nacala; and (3) raising the issue to the Government of Mozambique in order to work collaboratively to address agriculture export issues in the north.