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Thursday, May 23, 2024

Smallholder farmers eye mainstream operations

Story Stanley James, Business Editor

ZIMBABWE’s horticulture exports to global markets are expected to increase as more smallholder farmers are integrated into mainstream business operations.

The launch of the Horticulture Export Master Class in Harare this Thursday provided a platform for stakeholders to assess the current performances and offer strategies for growth.

While data released at the unveiling ceremony indicates growing demand for horticulture produce in global markets, it is the master class aspirations to integrate smallholder farmers into mainstream businesses that has excited the industry’s value chains.

“On paper, it is one of the most exciting documents and the real deal is on implementation however given the fact that it seeks to capacitate the growers then there is that greater growth potential,” said Mr Oswell Ushe, a farmer.

“The thrust is in broadening the market base, right now there is that glut in the global market but some of us do not know how to access them given the lack of funding, however, since the document spells out the requirements to access loans it will benefit more smallholder growers,” said Mr Perfect Mhlanga, another farmer.

Government has also identified horticulture as a key economic enabler in terms of foreign currency generation, with regulatory authorities endorsing the Horticulture Export Master Class document.

“The need to support the emerging growers is within our top priority such that as ZimTrade we are really upbeat about the benefits that will be derived from such a facility taking into account the need to broaden global markets,” said ZimTrade’s operations director, Mr Similo Nkala.

The Horticulture Export Master Class also seeks to support value chain players with market and trade information, access to loans at concessionary rates and provide technical expertise to the growers among other mechanisms.

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