Africa–based forestry and fruit group Obtala Resources Ltd (LON:OBT) has completed a first melon harvest in Tanzania.
In the trial, fresh produce was exported by road to Kenya and by sea to Dubai.
Repeat orders have subsequently been sent to Nairobi, with the quality of the fruit praised by its customers the company said.
Dubai is the target market and an expansion is being targeted for July and November when sweet melon and water melon is less readily available locally in the Middle East.
Land utilisation will rise to around 125 hectares in 2017 from the 25ha harvested in 2016 with some 500ha targeted for 2018.
In forestry in Mozambique, construction of a saw mill will start in the first quarter of 2017 and is expected to be operational by the third quarter.
Obtala added that a decision by Mozambique to ban exports of all timber in log form from January will help the business as it will force competitors to use its facilities to fulfil orders and also give an opportunity to buy-in wood.
The forestry business has now activated its CPI status within Mozambique.
Miles Pelham, chairman, added: “We have come a long way during my 7 month tenure of 2016 and I am pleased with the change we have implemented and the progress made.
“As we head into 2017 we leave behind a final quarter where we proved, tested and stressed the business model, procedures, logistics and operational competence of management.”
"I am confident 2017 will be a revolutionary year for the company as we move forward into growing markets well-funded, unencumbered, and with a competent and motivated management team.”
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