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New line of premium strawberries available for the first time from Ethiopia
Monday 26th November 2007 will see the introduction of a new line of premium strawberries – the very first to come out of Ethiopia. Fruit World Breda (Netherlands) has selected Ethiopia’s only strawberry grower Ilan Tot plc to supply them with premium fruit for their European Black Label line.
The introduction of Ethiopia as a strawberry growing region opens up possibilities for year-round availability of quickly-delivered, exceptionally sweet, high-quality fruit which, due to initiatives implemented by Ilan Tot plc is being produced in a manner that will meet with the approval of socially conscious consumers.
These Ethiopian-grown strawberries benefit from 1700m altitude and strong sunlight concentrations to make them exceptionally sweet, with average of 10% sugar brix. The difference in taste of the Yuval variety (the main offering) is very noticeable compared to when it’s grown in other countries. The same is true of the other available varieties.
Combining Israeli expertise with Ethiopian benefits
Located in Modjo, one hour drive from Addis Ababa, Ilan Tot plc strawberry farm is owned and managed by Mr Ilan Eliyaho, previously one of Israel’s top strawberry growers with considerable experience supplying major supermarket chains such as Tesco with premium-range fruit. The combination of his Israeli know-how with the consistent Ethiopian climate means the strawberries produced here are of excellent quality. Because they are transported to Europe by air they are also delivered very fast - within 24-36 hours from harvesting, making them much fresher than fruit grown in other out-of-season supply countries. Fruit is picked and delivered 7 days a week.
Ilan Tot plc strawberry farm is set up to be both environmentally friendly and socially responsible. Chemical use is reduced by working with the IPM program that combines biological pest controls. The farm is already in possession of a GlobaleGap certificate (EurepGap) and shortly expects to be awarded BRC certification.
An aspect which has the opportunity to enhance consumer appeal for these strawberries is the way that the farm operates to provide benefits to local communities.
With the exception of Ilan himself and his brother, the farm is staffed entirely by the local population, giving jobs to some 450 people who come mainly from the nearby villages of Bika and Moda. 85% of these workers are women, for whom this is their first job and first taste of independent means to support their families.
The farm also makes a contribution to the infrastructure of these villages through the supply of fresh water from wells it has had dug and also supplies electricity to the church.
In addition to this, Ilan Tot plc is investing in the next generation through a strawberry-growing study program in the local school, where children are given plants, taught about cultivating them and encouraged to trade their resulting produce in local markets.
The strawberries are delivered as 10x 250 grams packaged in black punnets and black boxes. For supply to retail contact Fruit World Breda.
To our visitors from Europe, please ask for Ethiopian strawberries at your local grocery store and support our farmers in Mojdo, Ethiopia.
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