It is not just because Jim Paul Porticos is starting up a new packing house that it is a busy morning at the Matanuska banana farm in Mozambique. The farm is also filling 10 containers for the Middle East, so there is no room for hiccups at any of the packing houses that process bananas from branch to box to container.
“Mozambique is good for bananas”, says the Filipino national, and director of quality assurance, after double-checking on his walkie-talkie that everything is running smoothly at the packing house he just left.
“Land is available at affordable prices, plant disease is hardly a problem and we have access to all the water we need thanks to the dam”, he adds, pointing towards the horizon, transforming the shape of the shadow around his feet from a plate to a banjo. It is approaching noon on this bright, scorching hot day.
The dam is nowhere to be seen, but this should come as no surprise. The farm, some 100 kilometres from the port city of Nacala, covers 7,500 hectares. As far as the eye can see, there are banana trees, so pointing is for direction only.
Next stop: Japan
Matanuska partners with Maersk Line in an alliance that illustrates the potential of agriculture in the area, where the bananas are even being certified for the Japanese market.
“The bananas are a showcase of what can be achieved in the hinterlands. With technology and assistance to facilitate the process, we can move so much more from these areas to the rest of the world”, says Carolyn Kathewera, branch manager at Maersk Line’s office in Nacala.