Government says limited value addition of agricultural commodities is hindering efforts to increase Zimbabwe’s exports.
While the majority of Zimbabwean farmers have been selling produce without adding value, on the global front bananas’ have been transformed into juices, paper and flour and other by-products.
The Minister of Lands, Agriculture and Rural Resettlement Retired Air Chief Marshal Perrance Shiri who was on a tour of Fangudu farm in Burma said maximising returns on crops require effective beneficiation methods.
“In other countries we have seen how farmers are getting increased revenues from bananas. We want to also have a situation in Zimbabwe where farmers will be able to process their bananas to make numerous by-products rather than just sell the fruit alone. We have a huge potential to harness foreign currency through horticulture, create employment, generate foreign currency as well as improve the nutrition component,” he said.
Increasing funding on research and development is also expected to maximise yields.
“The produce that we have in Zimbabwe meets world class standards. We want to have banana production in the matrix of command agriculture as we have seen beyond doubt the massive economic contribution bananas can have on the economy,” noted Manicaland Provincial Administrator, Mr Edgars Seenza while Zimbabwe Farmers Union Managing Director, Dr Richard Dafana said; “As an entity we want to use the latest technologies in order to push forward the agrarian revolution. We are working on the development of macadamia, banana as well as avocado blends”.
Despite the huge global demand for bananas, Zimbabwe has been unable to satisfy regional markets with Mozambique posing stiff competition.