Lack of funding hinders Zimbabwean horti exports

It seems like Zimbabwe's farmers are struggling to penetrate export markets because they are failing to mobilize funding required to obtain accreditations from international agencies. Dr Edwin Moyo, chief executive of Nhimbe Fresh, which supports hundreds of smallholder farmers, said recently: "They can't access funding timely and at a reasonable price but we have some of the best farmers who have previously proved their ability.”

The certification involves capacitating the farmers with skills to grow the crops, the application and disposal of chemicals, and handling during harvesting, storage among others. Depending on the crops, the cost of obtaining the accreditation may be as much as US$ 1,500 for one grower.

Zimtrade chief executive Allan Majuru stated recently that some horticulture exporters in Zimbabwe were facing capacity challenges in accessing the EU market thus limiting their ability to realize full export growth opportunities. "To address this challenge, ZimTrade is developing export clusters across the country where the target is also to integrate smallholder farmers into export business," Majuru said. "By doing this, the country will increase the number of producers, which in turn will boost- linked production. In the previous years, other horticulture farmers have also not been able to fully participate in exports due to market access requirements being imposed by the EU."

This has resulted in some farmers giving up on exports, closing, and others downsizing. To address this, ZimTrade is increasing engagements between Zimbabwean farmers and buyers in Europe and the United Kingdom, where the focus is on market requirements.


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