Article by Josephine Mugiyo, Diplomatic Correspondent
AFTER taking a huge knock from the COVID-19 pandemic, production and export of the country’s cut flowers and flower buds are now on a steady recovery path.
Growing flowers for the export market requires one to get the modalities right to ensure the product is not rejected.
The horticulture sector is among those that bring in foreign currency for the country and its growth is significant towards meeting the export targets for the country.
A visit to Lingfield farm in the Midlands Province revealed massive production of an array of flowers all being grown for the export market.
According to the farm manager, Mr Philemon Manasa, they have been exporting to Europe for the past four years and they are now familiar with the strict requirements that come with growing for export.
“This is a business in which you have to first ensure that you have a readily available market, following the good agriculture processes is also a strict requirement,” he said.
Constant liaison with buyers and trial of new varieties characterises the day running of a successful horticulture business.
“We export to Europe so we now know what they need,” he said.
Mr Manasa says while production went down at the peak of COVID-19, business is once again on an upward trend.
“This is a lucrative business, we have 15 types of flowers each year and hectarage depends on the demand for particular types of flowers,” he added.
Lingfield farm is one of the farms developed under the best model farm by ZimTrade, and the model requires that they also help smallholder farmers who are into horticulture.
At one time, Zimbabwe was a leading exporter of flowers and various initiatives are being put in place to ensure the exports increase.
ZimTrade Manager Communications, Mr Danai Majaha revealed that in 2001, Zimbabwe’s flower market was valued at 68 million United States dollars.
Though it took a downward trend from then, the figures are now steadily increasing due to the engagement and re-engagement efforts.
In 2020 the figures were pegged at US$6,75 million and in 2021, the figure rose to US$8,7 million.
“We have a number of new players who are interested to get into flower farming. Netherlands is one of our top importers and the UK, Dubai and the Middle East” he said
ZimTrade is putting in place several initiatives to grow the sector, with Mr Majaha noting that once more markets are unlocked, it will be easy to increase hectarage.