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Zimbabwe's Horticulture Sector Rebounds

1 month agoTue, 26 Mar 2024 07:42:48 GMT
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Zimbabwe's Horticulture Sector Rebounds

Zimbabwe’s horticulture industry is anticipated to exceed the record annual earnings of US$140 million, which were set in 1999.

This growth comes after farmers expanded their cultivated land during the 2023–2024 summer cropping season.

In the initial Crop and Livestock Assessment, Minister of Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water, and Rural Development, Anxious Masuka, reported a general increase in the planted area for most horticultural crops. He said (via Business Times):

The area under blueberry increased by 1% from 643 ha in the 2022/2023 season to 650 ha in the 2023/2024 season. Pecan nut recorded a 20% increase in area planted from 762 ha in the 2022/2023 season to 913 ha in the current season.

However, the tea area decreased by 14% to 4 868 ha in the 2023/2024 season from 5 662ha in the 2022/2023 season.

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Zimbabwe’s horticultural exports peaked at US$140m in 1999, before plummeting from early 2000 following the land reform exercise.

The land reform resulted in the loss of significant citrus plantations. However, there is hope for revival.

Despite the challenges posed by inconsistent policies, high borrowing costs, logistics issues, and land tenure concerns, the horticultural sector is recovering.

Increased investment, particularly in products like blueberries and macadamia nuts, has helped traditional crops such as citrus, tea, and flowers drive the rebound

By 2030, Zimbabwe aims to see a resurgence of up to 10,000 hectares of citrus plantations that were previously lost.

The Zimbabwean Horticultural Development Council (HDC) now targets $1 billion in horticultural exports by 2030. Achieving this ambitious goal will require substantial investment and an enabling environment.

The European Union, a major market for Zimbabwe’s horticultural exports, is also providing technical support and funding.

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