Horticulture sector poised for exponential growth

(Last Updated On: December 22, 2022)

BUSINESS REPORTER

 

Zimbabwe’s horticulture sector is poised for growth following initiatives implemented by the government under the Horticulture Recovery and Growth Plan, the deputy minister in the Ministry of Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water and Rural Development, Vangelis Haritatos has said.

He said the government was expecting a boom in the sector, which has in the past few years been battling severe headwinds, including failure to access markets, especially the European market.

“Horticulture is the new game changer for Zimbabwe borrowing from past successes and under the Horticulture Recovery and Growth Plan, the ministry is targeting a boom in the sector,” Haritatos said.

He added: “Key commodities under this value chain include blue berries, fresh produce, citrus, macadamia, coffee and high value emerging crops such as industrial hemp and medicinal cannabis.

“A number of initiatives are lined up under the Horticulture Recovery and Growth Plan with the overall purpose being to support the revival of the conventional horticulture industry by providing a relevant and evidence-based framework to guide and coordinate the development of commodity-specific strategies, projects and programmes as well as to stimulate a transformative rural horticulture sub sector under the Presidential Horticulture Scheme covering all 1.8m rural households.”

Haritatos said players in the horticulture sector were targeting the Chinese market as part of plans to move away from over reliance on European markets.

It comes after the European Union recently put in place new rules which limit Zimbabwe’s access to the markets.”

“With the ratification of protocols with countries like China in the supply of citrus, there is no doubt in my mind that the sector is poised for exponential growth,” Haritatos said.

According to a government report, production of horticulture and cash crops, except tea and macadamia nuts, significantly increased in the 2021/22 summer cropping season, largely due to increased irrigation schemes that enabled the crops to weather past the prolonged dry spell.

The report also revealed that production increased due to increased hectares under the plantation crops and cash crops.

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