Tanaka Farm in Zimbabwe are probably best known for their seed production but they also supply vegetables to locals and retailers, mainly from their trial plots.
"90% of our business is seedling production and we sell the vegetables from our trials as they are always in demand," explains Miyanda Maimbo. "We produce a wide variety from sweet peppers, leafy greens, different types of lettuce, spring onion and many more, everything is grown open field."
The most popular are the leafy greens such as rape, kale, spinach and also cabbage. Some of these are sold wholesale to women to take to resell in the various communities where they live and also to the retailers: Food Lovers Market and Pomona market.
"We do produce some speciality vegetables such as fennel or asparagus but specifically on request, we are currently propagating to grow for a specific client. We also grow two varieties of chilli for the local market: African bird's eye and Demon bird's eye. We do not export our vegetables yet, however we produce seedlings for exporters. We do the facilitation for any local farmer with our UK partners to grow chillies for export."
Tanaka Farm have a production capacity for over 2 million seedlings per month, when it's onion season they go beyond 10 million a month.
"We produce a huge variety of vegetable seedlings from lettuce, tomatoes, herbs, cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, chilli, garlic, kale, rape, covo, and many more with a wide range of varieties. We also offer training for start up farmers and provide technical support to everyone who purchases seedlings from us. We service the entire country with our seedlings, small scale and commercial farmers
Tanaka Farm have also created employment for the community as the farm currently employs 20 permanent employees and when it's busy they bring in casual workers.
"We also sell vegetables to the vulnerable women at half the price of the open wholesale markets, they take them for resale. This helps them get bigger margins. We also donate thousands of seedlings country wide to vulnerable communities helping them start income generating projects."
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