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Wednesday, May 29, 2024

Midlands horticulture farmer gets export license

Story by Tafara Chikumira

Zimbabwe’s trade development and promotion body, ZimTrade’s new horticulture clusters concept is proving to be a game changer in the Midlands Province, with more farmers now eyeing international markets.

Under the cluster development programme, ZimTrade facilitates the production and marketing of fresh farm produce entirely on the international market in a development that benefits farmers in clusters.

A Gweru farmer, Mrs Matilda Manhambo is leading one of the successful clusters and recently got an export license in what is a major boost to her cluster.

 “I want to thank the government for awarding me the exporters’ license. Previously, I used to rely on middlemen at the airport who would reap me off,” she said.

“After getting this exporter’s license, I now know the worth of my produce. The cluster concept is helping us in many ways.”

“We have seen several local farmers also practising horticulture. This helps us in terms of supplying the high demand for our produce. The demand is huge and the more we are in the cluster the better. We can’t afford to disappoint our customers and the cluster concept is really helping,” added Manhambo.

Several farmers in and around Gweru district have shown a renewed appetite for horticulture production since the introduction of the cluster concept.

“You must understand that horticulture production is a capital-intensive operation. Without the requisite infrastructure, you might end up running a loss. As a cluster, we are assured of having a packing shed and cold rooms which are at this farm. We also have a van fitted with a cold room meaning the assurance of maximum returns is there. This has pushed me to enjoy horticulture production,” said one of the farmers.

“I have always enjoyed doing maize production since I got my farm from the land reform programme. This has changed after being introduced to the cluster system which is promoting horticulture production. The money is good and we are able to share ideas and resources as a cluster. There is more to working together as a community as opposed to individualism,” said another farmer.

Late last year, the government through the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) unveiled a US$30 million Horticulture Export Revolving Fund to capacitate farmers and boost production by tackling challenges which were affecting the critical sector.

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