A1 farmers venture into lucrative horticulture

By Tapiwa Machemedze
THREE siblings from Mashonaland Central Province are determined to inspire others through horticultural activities, which feed into the recently launched Horticulture Recovery and Growth Plan.

Despite promising rewards from horticulture, only a few A1 farmers in Mashonaland Central Province have ventured into the business.

The Kandinga brothers of Mvurwi, who took up the horticultural venture from their late father in 2013, are an exception as they rely solely on the production of strawberries, guavas and avocados produced on their four-hectare plot.

“We began farming strawberry with just one seedling when my father was alive and he passed on in 2013 but we continued now the venture has grown such that it is our only line of business,”

The young farmers are however facing challenges in growing the venture due to inadequate irrigation equipment and poor marketing.

“We would want help to acquire more pipes because if strawberries get little water the crops develop black spot. Our hope is to get links to companies like Cairns or Alpha Omega who have processing equipment and can process our products as some of it rots when there are no off-takers,” they said.

Mashonaland Central Provincial Agronomist, Izzah Jaidi says horticulture farmers should go organic so as to give produce longer shelf life.

“Horticulture requires that one finds a market first before they produce…In horticulture, we encourage less usage of chemical fertiliser but we urge farmers to grow composts and farm organically so as to give produce longer shelf life,” he said.

The government recently drafted the Horticulture Recovery and Growth Plan aimed at increasing the sector’s contribution to GDP in line with vision 2030.

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