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The Tanzania oranges (Citrus sinensis) or chungwa in Swahili constitutes the most popular citrus fruit and comes from mainly the area around Tanga. In appearance, the evergreen tree can range from a dwarf, bushy size to the typical height of 9 meters. Some trees reach the transformative height of 15 meters, especially grafted varieties. As a culinary staple, the orange is easily the most recognizable fruit in the streets of Dar-es-Salam when in season. It costs next to nothing and it is common to come across vendors strutted in every street corner selling it while customers gnaw at it as they go about their businesses. Some of the main types that grow in Tanzania include Valencia and Nairobi cultivars.
Historically, chungwa was a popular part of the Arabs’ and locals’ trade along the coast before the 16th century. When Vasco da Gama whom the locals named ‘the devil’ passed Tanzania in the late 15th century, his men received oranges from the locals to stave off vitamin C deficiency. The origin of the fruit, however, was the Himalayas from where it dispersed to central Asia, and then the Middle-east. The Portuguese introduced it to the Mediterranean region in the mid-16th century.
We source our Tanzania oranges from mainly Muheza district in the citrus-growing region of Tanga. All our sources are family growers with an average of 0.5 hectares under the crop. They tend after their orchards through farmyard manure, mulch from fallen plantain leaves and through intercropping with nitrogen-fixing legumes. They use little or no chemical sprays: no wonder our fruit is always low in residual levels.
We harvest Tanzania oranges when they have attained their sixth or eighth month from the date of planting. We use sharp tools, including shears and knives to cut off the fruits with a few inches of the stalks intact. We ensure that the fruits are at their maximum plump size, are firm and have yellow tinges against their bright green skin. We then take them to the sorting shed.
Our sorting team then separates the oranges into at least three main grades. The first one is Fancy, which has blemish-free fruits. Only a tenth of their surfaces has a hint of poor color. The fruits are normally firm, unripe, wrinkle-free, aromatic and of a good size depending on the variety. The next grade consists of fruits that we label as Grade No. 1. They are as good as ‘Fancy’ but we give them an allowance of discoloration of a maximum 1/5th of their total surface extent. The third grade or No. 2 has all the qualities above but may be discolored above a fifth of its skin area.
We pack Tanzania oranges in bulk containers. We use the California filling standard where a container of 28.5 liters capacity can carry anywhere from 24 to 32 pieces. These can extend from 40 to 88 pieces. There are also allowances from 163 to 270 fruits per container. Before putting them into their cartons, we insert the fruits in mesh bags. In the case of cartons, we offer 5 percent volume per package. We keep the vents facing each other from one carton to the next. We also have ventilated polyethylene that offers perfect preservation. We finish the packing by inserting proper labels such as the net weight, the number of fruits, the country of origin and the destination.
We store Tanzania oranges at temperatures above 5 degrees Celsius. For the more chilling-sensitive types, we store them at over 10 degrees Celsius. We transfer the fruits to the airport via our refrigerated produce vans. You can be sure to obtain the shipment on the same day via an airborne connection from the international airport in Dar-es-Salaam.
Thus, if you would like to have arguably the most popular citrus fruit from southern East Africa, then you have our Tanzania orange to count on. Because we obtain it from family growers who cultivate it under Global Good Agricultural Practices (GAP), you are assured of excellent quality. We maintain good relations with our farmers under contract so that they will always meet your quantity requirements. You also have our word for extremely fair prices that meet your budgetary needs. Make an order today!
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