The Sunday News
Dumisani Nsingo, Senior Farming Reporter
THE Government is working on encouraging the country’s horticultural producers to consider exploring the fresh farm produce market in Namibia.
Women Affairs, Community, Small and Medium Enterprises Development Minister Dr Sithembiso Nyoni said the ministry intends to make use of the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) it signed with Namibia’s Ministry of Industrialisation, Trade and SME Development last week to encourage horticultural producers to tap into the potential lucrative Namibia market.
“Mostly, Namibia has a subtropical desert climate characterised by low rainfall and overall low humidity and these conditions don’t favour the production of crops.
Thus we are looking forward to utilise the MoU we signed with our counterpart to encourage especially women to venture into the cropping of fruits and vegetables and export to Namibia,” she said.
Dr Nyoni said early this year a delegation from Namibia visited the country on a feasibility study of the country’s horticultural sector.
“A Namibian delegation has visited Zimbabwe on a feasibility study and we linked them to farmers in Mashonaland West, East and Manicaland provinces. We are also going to consider other farmers from other provinces to supply that particular market once exports start,” she said.
Namibia’s import bill of fresh produce, on average from 2010 to 2015, is about $60 million per annum. In the 2016/17 season Namibia imported 47 143 tonnes of fresh produce and in 2017/18 season 52 853 tonnes were imported.
Zimbabwe’s horticultural exports recorded significant growth in 2018 after more than US$112 million worth of produce was exported, up from US$50,9 million exported in 2017 with the country experiencing a huge increase of exports to the European Union.
A lot of initiatives have been done on a larger scale to return Zimbabwe to the status of best in horticulture and floriculture supplier as was the case during the years 1999-2000.