Zim farm produce on global demand

Christopher Makaza.

Zimbabwe`s horticulture produce continues to be on demand in the lucrative European market due to its remarkable quality.

Dutch Embassy in Harare has today on its Twitter page posted images of mangetout peas and fine beans on the shelves in Netherlands highlighting that Zimbabwe`s fresh farm produce continues to be on demand in Europe and that Netherlands is one of Zimbabwe`s farm produce buyer.

“Look what’s cooking here in Holland. Top quality mangetout peas and fine beans, favourites for the Dutch and always in high demand ... just some of the fresh produce exported from Zimbabwe to Netherlands. Netherlands is Zimbabwe’s biggest buyer of fresh produce exports,” reads the post.

Zimbabwe Farmers Union (ZFU) Executive Director Mr Paul Zacharia confirmed the sentiments by the Dutch Embassy saying he witnessed our products in Netherlands shops a few weeks ago when he visited Netherlands.

“I was in Netherlands a few weeks ago and I had an interest to visit vegetable sections in their supermarkets just to learn few things about their fresh produce. I was really happy to see our green produce like the green beans and peas on their shelves. Ours were amongst those from South Africa, Kenya, Ethiopia and other countries.

“The Dutch Embassy`s observation that our produce is on high demand in Europe is very correct. I want to urge farmers to concentrate on producing good quality products and explore international markets. There is need for farmers to start by looking for markets then produce targeting those markets,” he said.

At its peak, the horticulture sector was the second largest foreign currency earner in Zimbabwe after tobacco, contributing an average four percent of gross domestic product.

The country used to export about 85 percent of its flowers to the Netherlands while about 90 percent of the total fresh vegetables landed in Britain, South Africa, Zambia and Namibia. Eighty percent of locally grown fruits were consumed by British and South African markets.

Production and earnings from the sector plunged at the turn of the millennium when the West imposed illegal sanctions on Zimbabwe in protest over the historic land reform programme, which has benefited more than 200,000 families.

Zimbabwe has since started re-engaging the EU in a bid to normalise relations as the new dispensations tries to turn around the country`s economy.