It is evident that more and more people are venturing into agriculture in Zimbabwe. Nowadays there is a high likelihood that anyone who contemplates getting into a business will settle for an agribusiness. There is no blaming that because the agriculture domain is laden with promising prospects. Even if you do not want to get dirty by being in the field there are numerous options for you. Value addition is also another promising front that people must jump onto. Focus can be on local and even international markets. Actually, there are colossal prospects for those who will tap into the export market. In this article, I shall be looking at market dynamics for agricultural produce in Zimbabwe.
Agricultural Market Dynamics In Zimbabwe
That is actually a key phrase in business that you must acquaint yourself with. Market dynamics refer to the factors or forces that determine or influence price movements and consumer behaviours. Here we are looking at all metrics on where stuff is produced or sourced, levels of availability and the level of demand amongst consumers, amongst other things.
In agriculture, you must understand that produce is seasonal. This essentially means there will be times when a particular crop or crops flood the market. It is typically to find crops such as tomatoes and cabbages periodically flooding the market. This ends being beneficial to the consumer because the increased supply pushes demand down thus lowering prices. This, on the other hand, is detrimental to the farmer or producer because they will fetch undesirable prices on the market. At times it even gets to extremes where a producer ends up in fix with perishable produce that people are not buying. Why is it important to consider all this?
I submit to you that as a farmer you need to start being smart. Be strategic about when you plant your crops. Wherever possible you must take a different approach by planting your crops in such a way that they mature when there is high demand. All this is borne out of observing trends and doing some empirical research. The seasonal aspect does differ from locality to locality so be contextual in your approach. You can even grow different batches that will each coincide with a time of low supply and high demand. Be smart!
Where To Sell Agricultural Produce In Zimbabwe
Agricultural produce entails being a producer yourself or you can source and sell; or both. Options are plenty and as always it is wise to conduct market research. It depends on the type of product in question, where you are sourcing it from, in what quantities. For instance, you can source maize from rural areas for reselling in urban and peri-urban areas; a simple business venture. You could sell to individuals or you could sell to millers and food processing businesses. For instance, livestock feed manufacturers require grain; you could supply them.
You could also source produce from areas where it is cheaper and then resell it to retailers and wholesalers alike. In essence, the wherefrom can determine the where to. What I mean is you want to source or move agricultural produce from a region where it is in abundant supply to a region where it is in low supply. Overall, this means the market is quite vast but is both segmented and seasonal.
So you always have to have an ear and an eye out for market movements. During a particular period demand might be low in Masvingo and high in Bulawayo, or vice versa. This all means there is always somewhere in Zimbabwe ready to purchase agricultural produce at any given point. Do not be limited by location and time.
How To Market Agricultural Produce
You have to leverage the power of the internet and social media. I am not even talking about fancy and costly ads here. Get a graphic designer to do an e-flier for you or you can do it yourself using apps like Canva. Spread out the e-flier on social media platforms such as WhatsApp, Facebook, Instagram, and so on. Create WhatsApp groups or join strategic ones where you can showcase what you are selling. Have a WhatsApp Business account where people can view a catalogue of what you are selling. I have found Facebook to be very effective for marketing in Zimbabwe, especially for agribusinesses. Have an active Facebook account where you market your produce. Cultivate word of mouth for referrals because they work wonders in this space. These are inexpensive things that you can do to market agricultural produce in Zimbabwe.
To say the market is flooded as an excuse is something I consider lame. I have heard people deciding to not engage in certain agribusiness activities using that reason. There is always a market somewhere but at times people are lazy to think outside the box. You might be doing poultry production in Masvingo and might feel there is no market. Well, it might actually be there but you are looking in the wrong place or the market could be just outside Masvingo. Remember the agribusiness market tends to be seasonal and highly segmented for the most part. Plus value addition can open up new market avenues.