ZIMBABWE – The Zimbabwe Mercantile Exchange (ZMX) will add horticultural produce to the list of commodities traded on the agricultural produce-focused exchange once the key supporting infrastructure has been put in place.

ZMX is an agricultural commodity trading platform that was launched on August 18, 2021, by the Zimbabwean government. 

The platform encourages formalization of small-scale farmers to ensure the sustainability of farming activities and increase access to credit through collateralization of agricultural produce.

It operates an electronic warehouse receipt system and a commodity trading platform that ensures safe, secure, and convenient trading and financing of commodities. 

Currently, according to ZMX general manager, Mr Garikayi Munema, the exchange infrastructure allows farmers to trade about 49 agricultural commodities, including barley, coffee, groundnuts, macadamia nuts, millet, oats, pecan nuts, rapoko, rice, sorghum, sugar beans, tea, cowpeas, and round nuts.

This news comes during a season in the horticultural and fresh produce industry when post-harvest losses have been rampant, threatening the country’s food security.

According to the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), post-harvest losses of fresh produce in Zimbabwe are a major concern for smallholder farmers. 

The losses are estimated to be between 20% to 30% in storage alone and can be as high as 40% when including field, transportation, handling, and processing losses.

This calls for an urgent need to come up with measures such as ZMX’s current initiative, to ensure that farmers do not continue to lose their perishable produce.

According to a report by the Herald, the addition of horticultural produce on the ZMX trading platform once the requisite infrastructure is set up, would be beneficial to farmers and a critical move considering the growing number of small-scale horticulture producers around the country.

ZMX general manager Mr Garikayi Munema told the recently held Agri-business Forum, organized by leading news publication Business Weekly, that post-harvest losses are more on the horticulture front and ZMX would ensure that the horticultural is onboarded on the ZMX trading catalog once the infrastructure is put in place.

He indicated that work was already underway to look at how the exchange would collaborate with existing service providers in the cold chain industry.

“As of now our operations are currently restricted to grains and oil seeds but our next step is to introduce livestock and horticulture,” Munema announced.

“The reason why we have not yet started on horticulture trading is because it requires cold chain facilities, and until we have infrastructure that supports the trading of those commodities, we will defer a bit.”

The exchange’s core mandate includes the provision of an open market for agriculture commodities, with willing buyers and willing sellers participating in the market-led price discovery process.

It also ensures timeous settlement of transactions on a willing buyer, willing seller basis with both parties agreeing on the price.

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