Dar es Salaam-based Nzallacado Oil Company ventured into fruit farming in 2005, originally thinking to sell the farm products locally. The firm’s founders – the Shafia Nzallawahe family – cultivated a 5-ha farm on which they grew the Hass and Fuerte avocado varieties. Seven years after the company started farming these avocados, harvesting of the same started. However, new varieties found it difficult to penetrate the Tanzanian market, as consumers still favored the traditional varieties.
That meant the Nzallawahe family was compelled to lower the prices of their avocados, their high quality production costs notwithstanding. That is why they then started making avocado oil, manually, at home. This entailed boiling the raw material from the fruit in pots and filtering the oil by hand. However, the quality of the processed oil wasn’t particularly impressive, and they decided to seek relevant skills and technological applications from the Small Industries Development Organization.
The family company’s current production capacity is higher than the 100 litres which the family was producing manually in the early days. But a major challenge confronting the Nzallacado Company is a stable market for its products.
Indeed, Mr Nzallawahe told The Citizen that they are currently producing under-capacity due to market challenges.
“We are currently producing only seven tons of avocado oil, while our full production capacity is 20 tons per harvest season,” he states. “The market potential is promising. But our products are still new to most Tanzanians. I hope to get a market expert or company that would promote our products and expand our market size. I’m ready to share the profits.”