Recently I conducted a poll on Dandaro Online, where I asked people which agriculture venture they would prefer to start. I gave them 3 options to choose from namely, Crop Production, Livestock Production, and Aquaculture. The poll is still ongoing but so far 75 percent picked Crop Production. It is not that surprising because most people in Zimbabwe do settle for it. However, I have noticed that most people settle for popular crops. Thus I thought to do an article on unpopular crops that are very profitable.
Let me get something out of the way, by ‘unpopular’ I am not necessarily saying ‘unknown’. Some of the crops I am going to mention you might actually know them. However, they are crops that are not commonly grown in Zimbabwe yet they are very profitable. So it is possible that maybe, just maybe in your area they might be popular. Here I am looking at a nationwide scale that makes it possible for a particular crop to be popular in your locality.
Zimbabwe used to be well known for exporting flowers to several parts of the world. Over the years flower production in Zimbabwe has dwindled. Most farms that used to solely dwell on that were turned into different activities altogether. This does not take away the fact that flowers actually have great commercial export value. You can still make lots of money by growing them for both the local and export market.
Herbs And Spices
We use herbs and spices a lot in Zimbabwe in varying capacities. Herbs and spices are central to wellness and cooking or food preparation In Zimbabwe. Interestingly, not many people are into their cultivation and processing though. Most of the herbs and spices are actually imported which is a bitter irony. We have the capacity to grow them and process them ourselves. There is an appreciable and steady rise in locally produced herbs and spices. However, it is not yet as widespread as should be; there is lots of money to be made here. Some examples
I have spoken about mushrooms before and how they are a strategic farming investment. Zimbabwe relies a lot on collecting mushrooms from the wild during the rainy season. However, mushroom production can be done throughout the year and indoors. Oyster mushrooms are the most favourite for many. I believe mushrooms are a lucrative investment especially when you look at how people are becoming more health-conscious. Mushrooms are a healthier source of protein than stuff like red meats. This means you can tap into that demographic that does not eat meat – vegetarians essentially.
I once did an article on castor beans before, a largely unexplored crop production venture. I can understand why castor beans production is not that popular. Castor beans are not edible for starters, so people fear they will be stuck with them if not sold. The other issues stem from farmers who were once duped by some initiative before. Plus feel there are too many uncertainties and bottlenecks in that domain. Regardless I still maintain that there is money that can be made here. Consider how those castor beans can actually be used for diesel production. That shows there is huge potential in castor beans production.
Microgreens are young vegetables typically 2.5 to 7.5 centimetres in height. As soon as their cotyledon leaves fully develop they are ready to be harvested. In essence, you could say they are tiny seedlings of edible plants – usually midway between sprouts and baby greens. Some common examples are spinach, celery, broccoli, basil, lettuce, cabbage, peas, coriander, and so many more. The average germination and maturation spans are almost unbelievable. We are looking around at most 3 days to germination and anything between 1 and 2 weeks to be harvested. Not to mention the extremely high yield to space ratio. This means sales can be realized in the short term and several times over which is a great scenario for any business.
The obvious strategic niche is restaurants, especially high-end ones. Thus networking with professional chefs is a witty move. Microgreens are a premium delicacy and can fetch fat prices on the market. Roughly 450 grams of microgreens can go for a cool US$50. It is quite possible to bag on average US$5000 every month. A modest garage space dedicated to microgreens farming can make this happen. Something like a 10 square metre space stacking the microgreens on shelves. The market is largely untapped; most people are yet to discover what they have been missing on. Entering the market now will be largely characterised by low or zero competition.
This is a large long term farming venture which is probably why not many people venture into it. This is because a farmer can start realizing substantial profits from 6 years onwards. Macadamia nuts usually fetch very high prices on the global market – averaging US$55 per kilogram. So it is very lucrative when you focus on producing macadamia nuts for export.
These are 6 of some of the unpopular crops in Zimbabwe that are very profitable. Look at these crops with both the local market and the export market. I would also advise that you consider value addition as well. All the best!