Ariston Holdings: The Farming Kingdom

Ariston business interests span a variety of crops including tea, macadamia, banana, apples, peaches, potatoes, tomatoes, peas, maize, soya beans and it has poultry and beef cattle. The operations of the tea growing units are fully integrated with the Blended Tea Factory (BTF) for value addition for tea.

Claremont Estate in Nyanga is a leading producer of apples, stone fruit, passion fruit and potatoes. Claremont became a certified seed potato producer under the auspices of the Zimbabwe Potato Micro Propagation Association during 2012 and is now one of the biggest certified seed potato producer in Zimbabwe. Its apple and stone fruit production are about to double in the next 2-3 years following the accelerated planting of more desirable types and varieties. Produce from Claremont Estate is readily available via local retail shops, and a substantial volume is destined for the export market.

Kent Estate is a diversified producer of certified seed potatoes and a variety of horticultural crops including all year-round tomatoes, pepper, peas (mangetout and sugar snaps) and fine beans. With large tracts of land under row crops such as maize and soya beans, Kent Estate contributes, in a small way, to national nutrition and food security. The Contract poultry production project at Kent Estate is perhaps one of the biggest operations of its kind in Zimbabwe.

Clearwater Estate, in Chipinge, has the largest hectarage of mature macadamia orchards in the country. Clearwater also produces tea and has a small crop of avocados. All Group macadamia sales are centralised at Clearwater Estate; which also produces the increasingly popular Ristonuts for local sale. The three macadamia producing estates in Chipinge and Chimanimani combined make Ariston the largest producer of macadamia nuts in Zimbabwe.

Roscommon Estate produces the world – acclaimed niche red tea Wanganella – in the picturesque Chimanimani, Eastern Zimbabwe. With potential for increasing contribution from macadamia and potato, which are of excellent quality, Roscommon Estate is expanding the production of these key crops.

Southdown Estate is the flag-ship tea producer for Ariston. With newly installed state-of-the- art tea harvesting and processing equipment, now also replicated at Clearwater and Roscommon Estate, Southdown will continue to produce better quality teas for both the export and local markets. Currently over 65% of Ariston teas are exported primarily to Europe, USA and increasingly to India and Africa. Clearwater, Roscommon and Southdown Estates, combined, make Ariston the third largest tea producer in Zimbabwe. There are increasing plantings of macadamia, banana and potato crops at Southdown Estate for both local and export markets.

The Blended Tea Factory, formerly known as Capital Tea Company, is at Clearwater Estate, Chipinge, where value addition of more than 1000t of bulk tea into packaged tea takes place. Three Leaves and Crest Value are the most popular brands. In addition, the Blended Tea Factory produces house brands for a variety of locally popular teas. The Blended Tea Factory’s state-of-the-art machinery enables it to respond to fast changing consumer brands. It has just introduced the innovative value and economy 50g packs for both Three Leaves and Crest Value tea. Altogether, the Blended Tea Factory probably produces and sells about 25% of locally made packaged tea and has a growing market share. Three Leaves is the most popular tea in southern Zimbabwe.

Estates are dotted all over Zimbabwe the majority in the eastern parts of Zimbabwe.