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Harare, Zimbabwe — In her wildest dreams, smallholder farmer Sarudzai Sithole never imagined that her pineapples could someday stock the produce section of Europe’s finest supermarkets.

Now, the 34-year-old mother of five is part of a group of 45 farmers in Rusitu Valley in Chipinge, a district in Zimbabwean eastern province of Manicaland, who from December 2021 would be exporting nearly 50 tonnes of their pineapples to the Netherlands.

“This is the best experience I have heard in the fourteen years that I have been growing pineapples. I have been selling my pineapples locally to buyers from Mutare, Harare and Bulawayo during this period, but it has been for a small profit.

“I will be selling two tonnes, and at the price of 70 cents that we have been promised, the exported crop will greatly improve my life and that of my family,” an excited Sithole tells IPS.

She says pineapple farming has enabled her to build a house, buy various household goods and send children to school. She is increasing her crop hectarage, hoping that the rewards from the exported crop will empower her to electrify the family home, among other major home improvements.