Matabeleland region farmers assured of untapped horticulture export markets

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Farmers from the Matebeleland region have been assured of vast untapped export markets for their
horticulture products in the region and accross the globe.

In an interview with New Ziana on the sidelines of an export awareness
seminar, national trade development and promotion body ZimTrade client
advisor Tawanda Chiware said there was need to educate farmers from the
region on export requirements including certification, food services
standards as well as to identify crops which they could grow for export
in future.

There are a lot of untapped export markets for horticulture produce
from Matebeleland, both regionally and globally, that is why we have
found it necessary to conduct a seminar for local farmers," he said.

Chiware said the seminar had been overscribed, as over 70 farmers from
the region attended, almost double the 40 that Zimtrade had initially
targted.Speaking at the same event, global Good Agricultural Practices (G.A.P)
farm assurer Clarence Mwale said before any produce was exported, it
should be certified by recognised international bodies.In other words, the farmer intending to export will have his/her
farming processes go through inspection by specific certification

bodies. These tests are annual and will cover worker health, safety and
welfare issues,he explained.It is only after the inspectors are satisfied that you can be
certified. One of the minimum requirements is a Global G.A.P Trademark
and a set of standards for good agricultural practices).A local agronomist, Leo Maphosa advised farmers in the region to grow
crops such as cucumber, egg plant, watermelon, butternut and sweet
pepper among other horticulture crops, saying they had a ready market
and brought quick returns.

Meanwhile, Chiware told the farmers that ZimTrade would conduct follow
up visits to TH individual farms to ascertain areas that it could
provide further assistance.The farmers appealed to the government and financial institutions to
avail cheap money on the market to finance horticulture.

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