The export market is a largely untapped domain here in Zimbabwe. There are a lot of reasons why that is so due to regulatory, licensing, and compliance issues amongst other things. It is also somewhat pricey to do farming to export because the quality and standards are quite high. However, that is not to say that it is farming export is a bad idea. No, not at all! In fact, I strongly recommend Zimbabweans seriously consider the export market. There are so many clusters you can consider in export farming and one of them is fruits. Let us look at profitable fruits to farm and export from Zimbabwe.
This is a family of several different types of fruits. Some of the main ones are strawberries, blackberries, raspberries, and blueberries. They fetch very good prices on the market, both local and export. They are even praised for their superior quality and taste compared to berries from other countries. The yield capacities are quite good; for instance, you can get around 24 tonnes of blueberries per hectare per season. You can realize as many as 18 tonnes of strawberries per season per hectare. Mushandi Holdings is one of the Zimbabwean titans of berries production. They have over 38 hectares under strawberries and blueberries (8 and 30 hectares respectively. Lots can be learnt from them.
A very unique and delicious fruit; even when it comes to fruit blends I love it when passion fruit is included. The good thing about passion fruit is that the local Zimbabwean climate is suitable for them. It is even common to see them naturally occurring – growing up I used to see this. I think in Zimbabwe people popularly know them by their other name, granadilla. At optimum production, you can realize as many as 20 tonnes per hectare.
Personally, avocados are my favourite fruit; I actually have two avocado trees at home. Anyways, this is a good fruit for the export market owing to its many uses. Initially, avocado can be somewhat capital intensive since you will go for several years without any revenue. However, when they start producing you can expect yields annually even to a century. Yield capacity, at peak production, is an average of 500 avocados per tree per harvest. Recommended tree population per hectare is 400. Thus you can get at least 20000 avocados per tree per harvest. As many as 10 tonnes per hectare per season can be harvested.
This is yet another family of different types of fruits. The common examples here are oranges, lemons, grapefruit, and lime, amongst others. Typically, over the years citrus has usually topped fruits exports from Zimbabwe. Thus it is a clear indication that focusing on citrus can be the perfect fit.
There are a variety of chillies to choose from but they have excellent export value. Again the Zimbabwean climate is well suited for the production of chillies. You can realize yields of as many as 15 tonnes per hectare. Considering that on the international market, chillies can go for over US$20 per kilogram, just do the math.
Macadamia nuts fetch a very good price on the international market. However, it is a long term business that takes on average 7 or so years for significant and consistent profits to start coming in. Macadamia nuts can sell for US$50 or so per kilogram. The long wait will definitely be well worth it. At peak production, at least 5 tonnes per hectare per season can be realized. In Zimbabwe, macadamia nuts are even regarded as significant enough to compete with tobacco with regards to export earnings. This means there is still vast untapped potential.
Other fruits to consider are mangoes, pineapples, There are very promising prospects in fruit production for export from Zimbabwe. In 2019, roughly US$34 million was realized from fruits exports. Actually, fruit exports far exceed vegetable exports from Zimbabwe. Some of the key export markets are Southern Africa and Europe, amongst others. The Netherlands in particular is highly interested in our horticultural produce. The 5 core export markets for fruits from Zimbabwe are South Africa, Zambia, Mozambique, Netherlands, and the UK. To fully understand how best you can establish yourself for the export markets go onto ZimTrade.