The Sunday News
Dumisani Nsingo, Senior Farming Reporter
PEAS production is continuously catapulting the growth of the country’s horticultural exports, which have recorded a significant rise over the past few years, an official said.
Speaking at a coaching on market analysis tools for journalists in Bulawayo recently, ZimTrade client manager Mrs Jacqueline Nyathi said there was a huge export market opportunity for mangetout and sugar snap peas mostly in Europe.
“Peas have been the top export fresh produce for years, notably mangetout and sugar snap peas, which seem to be in demand in Europe and in terms of top importers it’s mainly the Netherlands, United Kingdom, France and in the region it’s South Africa. There are a number of farmers that have grown their exports on mangetout and sugar snap peas of note being Lingfield Farm in Gweru. One of the reasons these are in demand is mainly due to the fact that one doesn’t have to cook them for consumption,” she said.
Sugar snaps have a rounder shape than mangetout, a crunchy texture and very sweet flavour. Mangetout are flat with very small peas inside and have a mild flavour. They are also called snow peas. According to statistics obtained from ZimTrade, in 2017 peas exports raked in US$2,1 million and last year US$7,8 million was realised.
The country’s horticultural exports recorded significant growth last year after more than US$112 million worth of produce was exported, up from US$54 million exported in 2017. A lot of initiatives have been done on a larger scale to return Zimbabwe to the status of being best in horticulture and floriculture supplier as was the case during the years 1999-2000.
Mrs Nyathi said ZimTrade has played a major role in the growth of the country’s horticultural sector through facilitating a number of training programmes.
“We have been working a lot with PUM since 2016 and seen a lot of exports going through. PUM has really done a lot in assisting farmers on issues to do with production efficiency and certification. We have since applied for a PUM expert to come through and figure out, which best export horticultural produce best suit the Matabeleland region instead of farmers focusing on onions and tomatoes, which are mostly meant for the local market,” she said.
PUM Netherlands senior experts is a volunteer organisation committed to the sustainable development of small and medium-size enterprises in developing countries and emerging markets. The marketing and export promotion body has also facilitated farmers and export-oriented companies to participate at various international exhibitions notably the Fruit Logistica in Germany.
“We have gone to Fruit Logistica in Germany, which is an exhibition for horticultural produce and we have been there with farmers, agents and individuals interested in exports where they sign off-take agreements and contracts and when they come back they farm what has been ordered. Again, importers have their certification criteria and will come and inspect farms and see if it meets their requirements,” she said.
Fruit Logistica, a flagship event held in Germany covers every single sector of the fresh produce business and provides a complete picture of the latest innovations, products, and services at every link in the international supply chain.