Zimbabwe is exporting between US$120 and 122 million worth of horticulture products annually, a figure below the country’s peak of about US$143 million between 1998 and 1999.
At the time, Zimbabwe’s horticulture sector contributed 4,5 percent to the Gross Domestic Product compared to less than one percent presently. Mr Cyrille Hugon, an official from Open Trade Gate Sweden, said organic production was a fascinating field that is registering significant growth in Europe as buyers from that market are craving for organic fruit and vegetables.
Open Trade Gate Sweden is a non-governmental organisation tasked with assisting exporters from developing countries such as Zimbabwe interested in the Swedish market.
“Organic production is a fascinating field, which is indeed a growing trend in Europe as you certainly know that buyers in Europe are requiring more and more organic products,” he said. “If you want to go into organic production, it’s more than just changing your inputs from synthetic to just organic. It’s really a choice that you make to change your farming system.”
Hugon advised local farmers to do market analysis before venturing into organic production so that they know what is on demand in particular markets.
Zimbabwe has a number of horticulture products that include citrus fruits, flowers, peas, chillies, sugar snaps and berries, among others. Prior to embarking into organic farming of fresh produce, Hugon said potential exporters also need to see if they can meet other market requirements such as the volumes, packaging, logistics and the type of certification the market may require.
ZimTrade, the country’s national trade and development organisation said the purpose of the two-day digital seminar was to provide companies in the fresh produce sector with information regarding, technical requirements for the export of products to Europe and Sweden.