- Dwarf fruit trees are preferred by urban dwellers due to their ease in pruning and ease of harvesting. They also take only a few years to start bearing fruits
Dar es Salaam. If you’ve had the plan to grow fruit trees but were hindered by the lack of space, then Baraka Munisi undertakings will prove you wrong.
While some fruit trees can grow fairly large, others stay quite petite but still yield the intended results.
With his Ryzer Agro Product firm, Baraka has been filling the gap between demand for fruits and the limitedness of space among city dwellers.
Baraka, along with other youths of different academic backgrounds, established Ryzer Agro Product Company in 2017.
“When we started there were other people who sell fruit seedlings in the market. However, we realized that many were still unaware of how to use limited space to grow fruits,” said Baraka Munisi who is the firm’s managing director.
With limited employment opportunities in the country, Baraka and his colleagues came together with a way of how to utilize the skills that they acquired in college.
“That was how we managed to create employment for 25 young people who work under Ryzer Agro Products. These people are experts in transportation, soil fertility, fisheries, seedlings and marketing, among others,” he said, revealing that on part time basis, the company employs nearly 50 people. Since 2017, the company has produced and sold over 2,000 fruit seedlings.
Dwarf fruit trees are preferred by urban dwellers due to their ease in pruning and ease of harvesting. They also start to bear fruits after only a few years and that one does not need a lot of space to grow them.
“At Ryzer, we offer different fruit trees ranging from mangoes, apples, strawberries, oranges, lemons and many others for our customers with limited growing space, or for those that would like to grow fruit trees in containers or their patio,” he said.
Dwarf fruit trees also make the landscape attractive.
According to him, the growing of the trees in containers or pots does not alter the quality of the fruits produced. The fruits are of high quality and can become edible for longer than fruits that are produced under normal growing conditions.
To get the seedlings the company uses grafting and budding techniques. The two are horticultural techniques used to join parts from two or more plants so that they appear to grow as a single plant.
Grafting is the act of placing a portion of one plant (bud or scion) into or on a stem, root, or branch of another (stock) in such a way that a union will be formed and the partners will continue to grow.
In the budding process, a bud is taken from one plant and grown on another while in grafting, a wound is created on one of the plants, and the other is inserted into that wound so each plant’s tissues can grow together.
Baraka, whose firm is based in Kigamboni District, Dar es Salaam, Region, told The Citizen in an interview that they were inspired by what was happening elsewhere and could be replicated in Tanzania.
“We really appreciate the role of social media which made it possible for us to influence people. These seedlings can be used to grow fruits for household consumption or for business,” he said.
The seedlings also allow farmer to harvest throughout the year, because they do not follow the normal agricultural season.
“Most people thought and many still think that agriculture is for the people who failed in life. However, agriculture has made people rich, so its better we find how to make the sector more commercially viable,” he added.
As a growing SME, Ryzer Agro Product faces contested logistical issues due to the rising customer demand.
According to Baraka, at times, the company fails to meet the rising demand of its products from clients due to shortcomings in transportation and/or manpower availability.
“Another big challenge is the fact that there are still many Tanzanians who do not believe in online business. The situation has now improved as we changed to a pay-on-delivery system but there are still many who are hesitant,” he said.
The young entrepreneur also noted that the scanty belief among Tanzanians into the new technique of fruit farming is also a challenge.
“People actually think of us as a foreign company. Sometimes they call and ask: “When did you guys come to Tanzania?” while we are ordinary Tanzanian youths.
He says, the government has done its best in improving the status of agriculture status in the country, noting however that there were still gaps in the value chain system. There is a need to have a connected system from the ministerial level of the government to the farmer.
“Government must increase effort to connect key players in the agriculture value chain, this would increase the sector performance and its contribution to the economy,” he said.
He said, there are many youth who are good at different areas, they need connections and motivation into the system.
“We, as Ryzer, are ready to cooperate with anyone in the agribusiness value chain so that both can help each other in terms of individual economic growth as well as the national wide ,” he concluded.