Dole Fresh Fruit Europe has struck a long-term commercial partnership with Matanuska Africa, with Dole assuming all sales operations and becoming the sole distributor of Matanuska's Mozambique banana production for the Middle East, Europe and Africa.

Dole will also be assisting Matanuska logistically and will supply technical support for its farming operations.

Matanuska, which is owned by Rift Valley Corporation, is based in northern Mozambique, 100km from the deep-sea port of Nacala, and boasts 1,400ha of banana production.

The current site is fully irrigated by a dedicated 55m cubic metre dam, includes six packhouses and provides employment in the adjacent communities to 2,600 people.

'The tie-in with Dole Fresh Fruit Europe will allow Matanuska to develop a better product as well as providing Matanuska access to industry expertise to increase its banana production to 7m-8m boxes by the end of 2016,' said Sevki Isin, group development director for Rift Valley Corporation.

Ken Docherty, currently in charge of Matanuska's sales office, will be heading a new Dole office in Dubai which will also market the entire range of Dole's Southern Hemisphere products in the region.

'We are delighted with the partnership with Matanuska which will deliver better and closer service to our Middle East customer base,' said Johan Linden, president of Dole Fresh Fruit Europe. 'Our expertise and know-how all along the supply chain will create a strong value proposition.'