Trade promotion body, Zimtrade has challenged farmers to exploit nearby regional markets for the exportation of their horticultural produce.  

Stakeholders in the horticulture industry from growers to seed producers and trade experts are plotting the revival of the industry, with the target being the export market.

Zimbabwe emerged as the fifth largest exporter of fresh peas to the European Union (EU) market in 2017 and Zimtrade Operations Director, Allan Majuru urged farmers to also exploit nearby regional markets. 

“Our farmers are focusing mainly on the European market but in the region, we have Mozambique, DRC and Zambia, among other regional markets which our farmers should target for export. In these markets, requirements are not as stringent as in the European market. In the case of the Mozambique market, our current competitors in South Africa are supplying Tete Province and they even pass through Zimbabwe to the province, which is just about 360km from Harare,” he said.

Products like onions, lettuce, cucumbers and tomatoes are in great demand in the nearby regional markets and Prime Seed Co Group Sales Manager, Ms Beuaty Magiya, whose firm hosted a field day, had an advice to farmers. 

“When farmers are going for these horticulture projects they should go for hybrids so that they get a uniform crop, high yields and in turn good money for their produce,” she said.

Farmers concurred that horticulture has been a lucrative venture which one can rely on as their main source of income.

Zimbabwe’s horticulture sector is on the upward trajectory, growing by 20 percent in the last four years.

With farmers improving in production efficiency, the horticulture industry has potential to generate billions of dollars in revenue.