THE country’s trade promotion and development agency, ZimTrade, says horticulture farmers in Nkayi have a huge potential to tap into the lucrative export market and contribute to the mainstream economy.
The organisation is working closely with the Agricultural Partnership Trust (APT) to assist farmers in Nkayi and neighbouring districts to realise their untapped potential.
Zimbabwe is famed for its quality horticultural produce, which is on high demand outside the country.
The Chronicle recently unmasked a thriving horticulture project deep in the thickest end of Nkayi District at a little known Sembewule area under Chief Madliwa in Matabeleland North province.
Small-holder farmers in the area have developed a horticulture greenbelt and are being assisted to export their produce. Villagers in Sembewule have for the past eight years been involved in growing flowers whose seeds are shipped to Holland where there is a ready market.
The flower seeds are also used in plantations where farmers grow large tracks of a variety of fresh flowers used for various occasions, as well as to make lotions, medicines, perfumes and bath soaps, some of which are probably imported into Zimbabwe.
There are more than 200 farmers now in Sembewule whose livelihood is dependent on flower production with a potential to transform Nkayi, usually given the moniker komnyam’ubambile because of lack of development.
“The potential for farmers in Nkayi to export horticultural produce is growing. In collaboration with @apt_zimbabwe, we are now working with small-holder farmers in the area to grow their capacity to produce quality flowers that will unlock access to European and other international markets,” said ZimTrade in a post on its official Twitter handle following a visit to Nkayi on Wednesday.
ZimTrade teams are conducting field visits to Nkayi, Gokwe and parts of neighbouring Zhombe with the view of supporting rural farmers to grow their export capacity.
Nkayi district also grows cotton, sunflower as the major cash crops while maize, millet, groundnuts, round nuts and sorghum growing is also significant.