Horticulture farmers in Rusitu and Chipinge are eyeing the organic fruit export market with a Pum horticulture expert from the Netherlands touring the area this week to assess progress made in meeting standards for certification.

Local pineapple producers in the Rusitu Valley and Chipinge area have made strides in improving the quality of their organic produce as they target the export market.

The Rusitu Valley Food Growers and Market Trust already has 1 300 members currently producing for local consumption but with sights on selling to foreign markets.

Netherlands’ Pum expert Mr Coen de Berg said consumers of organic produce need guarantees that the organic produce is really natural hence the need for certification.

The initiative to penetrate the multi-million dollar fresh produce export market is being spearheaded by trade promotion body Zimtrade which signed a memorandum of understanding with Netherlands based company Pum in April 2016 to capacitate horticulture producers.