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Synergies anchor US$1bn horticulture sector dream

WITH seven years before the due date, the Horticultural Development Council (HDC) is still optimistic that the country will reach its US$1 billion horticulture industry target by 2030 if there is collaboration among all the stakeholders.

HDC chief executive Mrs Linda Nielsen said this at the second edition of the horticulture investment forum that was held last Thursday in Harare under the theme, “Opportunities in the field, in policy and all the way to the bank”.

“Government and private sector have set a US$1 billion horticulture industry target by 2030 to create 150 000 jobs from the current 18 700, most of whom are women. Our current export size is around US$120 million. We have only seven years remaining and that’s the reality of the situation which requires a ‘Team Zimbabwe’ approach,” the HDC head said.

Among the players in the team are farmers, HDC, finance investors, development partners, National Trade Development and Promotion Organisation of Zimbabwe (ZimTrade), Agricultural Marketing Authority (AMA), Zimbabwe Investment and Development Agency (ZIDA) and Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water and Rural Development Ministry.

Mimicking the game of football, she said the Ministry as the goal keeper was the strategist who starts the attack for strikers to score many goals only if they get great passes from midfielders.

“The Ministry of Agriculture as our goal keeper, you have the most important job, because as the strategist wherever you throw the ball determines how the game will be played whether offensive or defensive.

“However, there is something unique about this horticulture export game, unlike football, all the team members cannot be substituted nor are there red cards,” she said.

Government crafts policies that control production and trade of crops and livestock. Exports of most horticultural products require control documentation such as phytosanitary, export and import certificates and licences.

The global horticulture export market is what the country is aiming for. Mrs Nielsen said the ‘Team Zimbabwe’ had farmers on attack as strikers to give us the goals and they needed to expand and develop their production base.

In football the attack comes from the defence and everyone needed to be in sync for the game plan to work. The country was competing with other nations and must be competitive to win the market.

“Our other team players are ZimTrade which promotes Zimbabwean produce, providing market access and providing inter-country trade relations. Development partners provide support of building the sector, funding and innovativeness while investors are farmers, local and foreign financial institutions looking for opportunities to invest.

“ZIDA provide incentives to invest in the sector with AMA on production, processing, marketing and regulatory for a level playing field for all,” she added.

The United Kingdom Ambassador to Zimbabwe, Mr Peter Vowles, concurred and said it was all through collaborative efforts that the country can reach its set target.

“We have launched a partnership with HDC to increase exports of crops like blueberries, chillies and peas to the UK. This will support Zimbabwe’s strategies to build a robust horticulture industry by 2030 and help farmers earn foreign currency. Vakuru vakati chara chimwe hachitswanyi inda,” the Ambassador said.

Herald

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