British berry importer seeks partners in Zimbabwe and Kenya

WB Chambers is negotiating for new berry farming partnerships in Zimbabwe, Kenya and Morocco to meet demand from a new British supermarket chain.

Chambers Production Director Salih Hodzhov told Fruitnet that it also wants to secure additional berry producer and import deals with Spanish and Moroccan farmers.

“We are having a lot of conversations with berry producers in Zimbabwe and Kenya because we now have to look up to other countries (for supplies). We are willing to do so because our customer has said: ‘Here is the order, we would like to buy your berries if you can produce them’. For us, it’s a big business opportunity and we are definitely willing to do it,” Hodzhov said.

Chambers has existing import arrangements with producers from Egypt, Chile, Morocco, Spain and Peru. However, its supplies chains were affected by the recent cold snap that hit Morocco, Spain and Portugal and reduced their combined annual soft fruit production by half.

Hodzhov said to meet increased demand, the company would expand on the existing berry producer deals by farming on a rotational basis between the UK, Morocco, Spain and Portugal.

“We will grow, from May to October, in the UK, and then we will switch to Spain for a few months to maintain productivity. In December and January, we will move supply to Morocco, and then in March and April we will grow in Portugal, before starting again in the UK,” he said.

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