Agriculture is an important industry in Zimbabwe with roughly 7 in every 10 people relying on it for income generation. Part of that sector is horticulture which entails the cultivation of vegetables, fruits, and ornamental crops, amongst others. Last year the global horticulture market exceeded US$25 billion. In the next 5 years, that market size is projected to almost double. Last year the government introduced the Rural Presidential Horticulture Plan. The core focus of the initiative is fruits such as passion fruit, apple, guava, mangos, pecan nuts, avocados, lemons, and macadamia nuts. Under the scheme, a household gets 10 fruit trees per variety depending on the agro-ecological region. Just recently Adventist Development Relief Agency (ADRA) Zimbabwe launched a horticulture project which goes to show the concerted efforts being put in for horticulture in Zimbabwe.

Who Is ADRA Zimbabwe?

The Adventist Development Relief Agency (ADRA) Zimbabwe is a local humanitarian organization that enjoys a global network. ADRA Zimbabwe was officially registered in 1980. Its main focus is relief and development work. You can check out their website for more information. Alternatively, you can visit their offices at 5 Cecil Road Rhodesville, Greendale, 0000 Harare.

ADRA Zimbabwe Horticulture Project

The horticulture project is called Engage – Making Markets Work For Smallholder Farmers. The project targets 50 000 smallholder farmers in 3 districts namely, Mutoko, Murewa, and Umguza. This is a US$862 000 project that will span 3 years (2022, 2023, and 2024) to build Zimbabwe’s horticulture industry. The project will be rolled out via the Australian NGO Cooperation Programme. Thus there will be an ADRA Zimbabwe joint effort with the local Ministry of Lands and Agriculture, along with ADRA Australia, the Australian Embassy, and the Australian government.

The project comes at a time when the Zimbabwean government is working towards revamping the local horticulture industry. Horticulture is essential to the economic growth of Zimbabwe. When it comes to exports, horticulture sits at number 5 but bear in mind there is still vast untapped potential. It almost sounds fictional to mention that Zimbabwe was once ranked number 3 when it came to global horticulture production. The good news is that last year, horticulture exports in Zimbabwe went up by roughly 7 percent. That was total export earnings of US$65 million. Much more can still be done and more and more players must get involved.

The Project Goal

During the official launch recently held in Harare, Judith Musvosvi, ADRA Zimbabwe Country Director, had this to say:

The Engage project goal is for smallholder farmers and entrepreneurs to have improved livelihoods contributing to economic growth in target districts. This goal will be achieved through enabling policy and regulatory environment, strengthened horticulture production base, improved financing investment, developed infrastructure and logistics, developed domestic market, sustainable production and market systems and strengthened institutional arrangements and coordination.”

The Zimbabwean horticulture industry is still way below capacity. It is projects or initiatives such as these that are needed to revamp it. The government envisions the horticulture industry getting up to US$300 million in worth by 2030. Given the fullest potential Zimbabwe has, that figure is too modest because we can far exceed it.