The Zimbabwean government is considering setting up a horticulture department, committed to creating a conducive regulatory environment for the sector to adequately thrive, a senior official revealed.
Zimbabwe`s horticultural sector continues to face a number of challenges, the biggest one being on the regulatory environment. This has seen the sector`s contribution to the country`s export earnings declining over the past year.
According to statistics provided by the trade development and promotion body, ZimTrade, the horticulture sector’s contribution to total exports decreased from 2 percent in 2018 to 1,5 percent in 2019, with the aggregate value of exports decreasing from US$19,5 million between Feb-Apr 2018 to US$13,5 million between Feb-Apr 2019.
The decline was mainly due to a drop in exports of leguminous vegetables, nuts and citrus fruits.
The decrease was also attributed to several constraints that have impacted negatively on the competitiveness of the sector, including a lack of foreign currency, regulatory issues, as well as climate and logistical challenges, said ZimTrade.
In recent years, the government has been on a drive to boost performance of the sector and it earlier this year launched the Zimbabwe Smallholder Horticulture Empowerment and Promotion project (ZIM-SHEP) which is expected to boost production and improve livelihoods of people in farming communities. According to an article on herald.co.zw, it will contribute towards the realisation of the national vision of a middle income economy by 2030.