The Sunday Mail
Jennifer Mufamba and Panashe Nyamudeza
Zimbabwe has potential to access new international agriculture markets for horticulture products, which could help the country achieve its Vision 2030 targets, an industry executive said say.
Tawanda Namusi, the chief executive officer (CEO) at former Zimbabwe Stock Exchange listed firm, Interfresh Limited, said during a webinar hosted by SIVIO Institute, in June 2021 alone horticulture raked in US$30 million through exports of fresh farm products.
He said there is a quiet transformation going on in Zimbabwe’s agricultural space, which would help the country to produce quality yields for the international market.
Zimbabwe has farmers in agricultural sectors, which need only to be developed and transformed to meet the demands of the large-scale agricultural market across the globe, he said.
“As Zimbabwe we need to import some of the achievements and ideas from those countries that always make it in the agricultural sector.
He added that Zimbabwe had an agreement with Europe, which give access to EU countries like Russia while Africa’s horticultural giant Kenya, could act as a bridge to the leading global markets.
He also added that Zimbabwe had the requisite infrastructure to become a major global player in horticulture while the Government has been working on other facilities such as ongoing dam construction projects, which saw the completion of the gigantic Tokwe Mukosi in May 2017.
“The global standard for paprika was done in Zimbabwe and, therefore, we still have the opportunity to access those international markets,” Mr Namusi said.
Access to those markets, he said, certifications and incentives were needed to help grow marketing activities and current shipments.
“Transparency is the main key to success needed, together with funding banks for Zimbabwe to have access to those markets,
“We need to know what ports we are going to use and the infrastructure for our goods to reach the market,’’ Mr Namusi added.
Mr Namusi said the Government needs to assist in developing and upgrading small-scale agricultural farmers in order to achieve the targets of Vision 2030.
The agricultural sector is the backbone of the country’s economic developments since almost all rural people derive their livelihood from it and other related economic activities.
General challenges facing smallholder farmers in Zimbabwe include low and erratic rainfall, low and declining soil fertility, low investment, shortages of farm power as well as labour and draft animals, poor physical and institutional infrastructure, poverty and recurring food insecurity.
The peasant farming sector, which produces 70 percent of staple foods (maize, millets, and groundnuts), is particularly vulnerable as it has access to less than 5 percent of national irrigation facilities and therefore needs proper transformation.