Manicaland exports rake in US$53.2m

18 Apr, 2024 - 00:04 0 Views
Manicaland exports rake in US$53.2m Manicaland's ideal climatic conditions have spurred the production of organic horticultural produce which has enabled the province to increase its exports and rake in about US$53.2 million into the country

The ManicaPost

 

Lovemore Kadzura
Post Correspondent

MANICALAND’S ideal climatic conditions have spurred the production of organic horticultural produce which has enabled the province to increase its exports and rake in about US$53.2 million into the country.

Manicaland — a gateway to Mozambique — has good climatic conditions that make it ideal to produce diversified crops like macadamia nuts, tea, avocados, coffee, herbal tea, pineapples, cut flowers, bananas peas, carrots, cauliflower, sweet potatoes and stone fruits, organic ginger, turmeric and garlic, among others, with the ability to thrive in the export markets.

Horticulture is one of the export low-hanging fruits for businesses and communities in Manicaland, and the sector has immense potential to gain a strong global competitive position, thereby providing substantial social and economic benefits to the province and the country at large.

Further to this, the global markets for organic horticultural products remain attractive, and Manicaland has the potential to take over supply of the global horticulture market as production of fruits and vegetables drifts away from industrialised nations.

The current boon in avocado exports comes at a time Manicaland has been steadily increasing its avocado exports from 2 746 tonnes in 2017 to 5 806 tonnes in 2021.

The increase is due to improved production and new smallholder farmers planting more trees, making Zimbabwe the fifth largest exporter of avocados in Africa.

Of late, there has been massive investments in the horticulture sector, which has resulted in improved productivity on the farms and estates, particularly through joint ventures. Buoyed by the new investments in the horticultural sector, the country is expected to lead the pack in the near future.

Zimbabwe’s horticultural produce is on high demand in countries like the Netherlands, South Africa, China, United Kingdom and United Arab Emirates.

Among the latest investments in the sector is a joint venture between Agriculture and Rural Development Authority (ARDA) and a private firm, Cicada, to grow avocados and macadamia nuts at its Katiyo Estate in Honde Valley.

The partnership will result in increased horticultural exports from the province.

ARDA board chairman, Mr Irvin Craig confirmed the development and said the joint venture, sitting on 505 hectares, has so far created employment for 325 people, tendering avocado plantations with about 300 tonnes of avocado produce already harvested and destined for the European market.

“We have a contract farming agreement under the Public-Private Partnership Framework to establish at least a combined 500 hectares of avocado and macadamia nuts plantations with the produce targeted for export.

“Under this agreement, we have planted Hass Avocados on 312 hectares and macadamia nuts on 193 hectares to have a total planted area of 505 hectares. Harvesting is still in progress, and to date 300 tonnes of avocados have been harvested. Our main market is mainly European countries such as the Netherlands, Germany and the United Kingdom. Harvesting of commercial crop for macadamia is expected from the 2024/25 season. The current establishment has 325 employees,” he said.

ZimTrade Manicaland Region manager, Mr Admire Jongwe said the province has vast opportunities to expand the horticultural sector and grow the country’s export revenue.

Mr Jongwe also called upon established firms to incorporate smallholder farmers as out-growers.

“Produce from the province, which have been driving national horticultural exports, include macadamia nuts, tea, avocados, coffee, herbal tea, pineapples, cut flowers, bananas and stone fruits. There is scope to grow the export of horticulture produce in Manicaland, leveraging on crops that can perform well in the province such as peas, carrots, cauliflower and sweet potatoes.

“Sweet potatoes are mainly grown in Chipinge and Makoni districts where we are encouraging farmers to concentrate on viable varieties such as the yellow-fleshed ones. Further to this, there is scope to grow exports of sesame seed, widely grown in Chipinge, Nyanga, Makoni and Buhera districts. This crop has great potential for the province, considering its huge demand in the Mozambique market whose proximity to the province offers additional logistical and competitive advantages.

“Flowers, which already have a lucrative market in countries such as the Netherlands offer export opportunities for growers in Nyanga, Vumba and Mutare. To grow the flowers output, there is need for established players in the sector to bring on board smaller players which will guarantee them access to markets,” he said.

Mr Jongwe said Manicaland is also emerging as a key producer of chillies, peppers, wild fruits, essential oils and processed foods and heritage-based products.

According to the Horticultural Development Council, the country is likely to export around 6 000 tonnes of avocados this year, and there is need to penetrate new markets such as China and India.

“The 2024 season looks promising for Zimbabwean avocados. We are trying to export 6 000 tonnes, which will be the country’s biggest crop yet. Credit should be given to increased production from new producers from an estimated 1 500 hectares planted to date.

“More investment is needed in infrastructure such as pack houses. We are working with stakeholders to push for new markets such as China, India and other South East Asian (countries) so that Zimbabwe remains competitive,” said the council in a statement on its X handle.

 

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