As new markets emerge in Africa, Europe and China, Trade based organisations have reached a concensus regarding the potential of Horticulture as a lucrative business in Zimbabwe. Export promotion body Zimtrade, which reaveals Chinese and European markets seems to agree with the Zimbabwe National Chamber of Commerce (ZNCC), which gives lists Namibia as possible consumers for Zimbabwe’s horticulture products.
ZimTrade Regional Manager, Similo Nkala who visited China last year revealed Chinese markets for citrus, one of the horticulture products, saying that the US$23 trillion Asian economy managed to get orders amounting to 45 000 tonnes of Zimbabwean oranges annually.
“The 45 000 tonne order is more than what Zimbabwe’s citrus producers have managed to export for all citrus fruit combined, in any year previously. Part of our mission was to visit citrus farms, seedling producers and processing centres to learn best practice in the citrus value chain,” said Mlilo.
Mlilo said that the market value of 45 000 tonnes in the region is of US$18 million presenting an opportunity for local growers to increase their their products.
Zimtrade, which also went to Berlin, German for the Fruit Logistica learning visit also reavelled interests that the European market has on Zimbabwean horticulture products.
The trading board went to Europe with Zimbabwean businesses in horticulture where there were over 75 000 visitors from over 130 countries with representatives from 3 077 companies and organisations from 84 different nations.
“To date, orders worth US$1.3 million have been recorded by the Zimbabwean companies who participated in the 2017 event.” said ZimTrade in its news release.
The EU remains the biggest export market for Zimbabwean horticulture produce claiming US$60,621,000 in 2016 acording to ZimTrade. In addition, ZNCC president Devine Ndhlukula said that there are opportunities to supply horticulture products to Namibia.
“There are opportunities in Zimbabwe, let us not mourn and say there are no opportunities,” said Ndlukula.
Namibia is not able to produce some of the horticultural products such as apples and is importing most of its vegetable products from South Africa. Zimbabwe which unlike Namibia, has climatic conditions that allow apples to be grown has witnesses a reduction in the production of the deciduous fruit by 50 percent due to the ongoing uprooting exercise which was scaled up at Claremont and Nyamagaya orchards as well as a very devastating fire that occurred at Nyanga Downs Farm according to Deciduous Fruit Growers Association (DFGA) chairperson Edward Buwu.
Zimbabwe at its peak exported 59 200 tonnes of fresh produce earning about US$143 million in the 1980s according to ZimTrade. Horticulture contributed 4.5 percent to the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) second to only tobacco in 1999.