Kiyapili Sibanda, Business Reporter
THE European market is ripe for organic horticultural products and Zimbabwean farmers stand to reap more earnings from such an enterprise, a Netherlands expert said.
Speaking on the sidelines of a ZimTrade export awareness seminar for Matabeleland horticulture producers in Bulawayo yesterday, horticulture expert, Mr Peter de Wit, said farmers in Matabeleland region should learn how to grow organic products and acquire certification to qualify for exports.
He urged relevant authorities to also play their part to assist local horticulture producers on the export front.
“Farmers should learn how to grow organic products and should also have certification for it. They should find allies that are other farmers who are into organic products or they should make contact with Organic Africa in Harare. Organic products have got a huge market in South Africa and Europe and I think farmers should make use of that for them to penetrate the international markets,” said Mr de Wit.
He also said for the economy to grow the country has to substitute its imports with exports in order to generate the much needed foreign currency.
Mr de Wit said Zimbabwe was very suitable for investment especially in the horticulture industry.
“I think Zimbabwe is a very suitable place to invest in the horticultural sector.
“At present 50 percent of onions are imported and there are hardly any exports of flowers like it used to be in the past. The country must substitute its imports for it to generate the much needed foreign currency,” he said.
Mr de Wit said the European market was big and encouraged farmers to work together as a team. The export awareness seminar was attended by horticulture producers and other stakeholders.
Last year, the country’s export promotion body, partnered with PUM, a Netherlands business support organisation, to provide factory floor interventions as well as expert advice to small and medium-scale farmers in the horticultural sector.