Zimbabwe aims to propel its horticulture sector into a billion-dollar industry by 2030, a notable leap from its current standing at 120 million U.S. dollars, as highlighted by an official announcement on Thursday.
Linda Nielsen, the Chief Executive of the Horticultural Development Council (HDC), emphasized the necessity for a coordinated strategy involving improved access to affordable financing, secure land tenure, consistent policy frameworks, regulatory stability, and comprehensive training for farmers to realize this ambitious target. Nielsen stressed the sector’s need for 1.2 billion U.S. dollars in financing and underscored the importance of offering incentives to reassure potential investors and funders.
“We believe we can get there, provided there is an enabling environment and user-friendly financing,” HDC president Stanley Heri said.
Zimbabwe’s horticulture sector, once a significant contributor to foreign currency reserves, experienced a decline in production and export earnings during the period of disturbances preceding the land reform program. However, recent efforts by the government have been aimed at revitalizing the sector. Notably, the launch of a 30-million-dollar export-revolving fund was initiated last year to mitigate risk for private funding in the sector.
The EU, a major market for Zimbabwe’s horticultural exports, is also providing technical support and funding through the European Investment Bank.
Furthermore, the industry witnessed a significant upswing following Zimbabwe’s collaboration with China, signing a citrus trade protocol last year to export citrus fruits to the Chinese market. August this year marked a milestone when Zimbabwe made its inaugural citrus shipment to China, and discussions between the two countries are ongoing regarding the potential export of avocados and pecans, as confirmed by the HDC.