ZIMBABWE – Over a short period of three months after the launch of the presidential horticulture recovery program in Zimbabwe by the country’s President Emmerson Mnangagwa, the government is eyeing to generate US$143 million from the export of horticultural products by 2024.

The various recovery strategies introduced to revitalize the horticulture sector are reportedly said to have begun paying off, with the country recording a surge in export earnings.

Data from ZimStats for the period January to December 2022 indicate that US$86.6 million was realized from horticulture exports last year against US$72.9 million recorded in 2021, marking a 12 percent increase.

A composite horticulture volume of 130.7 million kilograms was exported in 2022, a one percent increase from 2021’s figure of 129.4 million.

In line with Zimbabwe’s vision to become an upper-middle-income economy by 2030, the country inaugurated the Zimbabwe Horticulture Recovery and Growth Program in December 2022 as a vital milestone in the implementation of the Agriculture and Food Systems Transformation Strategy, reversing deforestation and increasing climate resilience.

The program targets to plant 18 million fruit trees by 2025; 10 fruit trees per household in 25 000 villages as well as 300 fruit trees for every school in the country.

According to the scheme, this will create and sustain a US$1.217 billion rural horticulture economy by 2025 and up to US$3.5 billion by 2030.

Under this program, farming communities are encouraged to venture more into the citrus (orange, lemon, grapefruit, nartjies, and lime), granadilla, apple, mango, guava, macadamia, pecan, and cashew nut production.

The program is divided into six components, namely nutritional gardens, virus-free elite planting material, rural Agro-industry development, youth in horticulture projects, research and innovation for indigenous vegetables, and fruit trees production.

Speaking during a fruit tree planting ceremony in Murehwa, Zimbabwean Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water and Rural Development permanent secretary Dr. John Basera said the horticulture sector was contributing over US$65 million and is targeted to generate export proceeds of US$143 million by end of 2024.

“The scheme will stimulate both conventional and rural horticulture production to accelerate domestic and export horticulture production, productivity, and profitability,” said Dr. Basera. 

“The overall purpose of the scheme is to guide and support the revival of the conventional horticulture industry to stimulate a transformative rural horticulture subsector covering all 1.8 million rural households.”

Dr. Basera also highlighted that the Ministry is developing and revitalizing horticulture-related infrastructure and ancillary services, including Agro-processing and marketing hubs and associated infrastructure, to establish sustainable and effective funding mechanisms and attract foreign investment to the horticulture sector.

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