Horticulture business is a very profitable business. Many entrepreneurs are making money all over Zimbabwe by operating horticulture businesses. The horticulture business has also provided employment for many people in Zimbabwe. Horticulture Farming has become prominent and can be considered to be dualistic in nature and falls under agricultural farming. On the contrary, it has become a standalone sector due to its huge foreign currency inflows that the country earns from exports. If you have a plot or farm that is laying idle, this is a business to consider. You can put the farm into good use by starting horticulture business and make good profits. Horticulture can be done on a large scale commercial farm, small scale and even pack houses. Therefore, you can also participate in this sector even as a home grower.
In Zimbabwe, horticulture feeds into other industries of the economy. These are export and value added processing. Between 2015 and 2016 exports from this sector amounted to at least $72 million. Countries that support this sector are Netherlands (45%), United Kingdom, South Africa and the European Union (Germany, France and Poland) importing the remainder. The horticulture sector covers all produce such as flowers, fruits and vegetables. These make up 25%, 32% and 11% respectively.You need to carry out market research and have a good horticulture business plan before starting this business.
What you need
Know your market
The horticulture sector has a huge ready market that includes local and international players. It is important that you know your target market before you start the horticulture business. For example, locally there are retailers such as Bon Marche, Thomas Meikles, Food World, Pick n Pay, OK and OK Mart Supermarket. There are also major wholesalers and exporters especially around the Harare and Mutare areas. These exporters (Kondozi Estate and Mitchell and Mitchell) mostly sell the produce to various countries. You can also supply your produce to agriculture market centers like Mbare Musika e.g. cabbages, tomatoes e.t.c.
Since you are starting as a small scale grower, you can approach your local retailers with samples of your product to market them. This is a better starting point when launching your horticulture business. You can also approach the wholesalers and exporters close to you. Interact and network by attending annual agricultural fairs that are done around Zimbabwe. This is an opportunity for you to interact with other farmers and to also meet pioneers and leading companies here in Zimbabwe.
Inputs and Farm Improvements required
Depending on the type of produce you want to concentrate on, you would also need to redo your farm to suit the needs of the produce. For example you may want to concentrate on flowers. If its under green house farming, you then need a lot of capital in building green houses.You also require money for setting up an appropriate irrigation system. This would then need a certain class of pesticides or perhaps use of organic flowers. Produce for horticulture business ranges from citrus, flowers, assortments and vegetables. Under each of the above there are peas, spinach, cabbages, beetroot, cucumber, tomatoes, peppers, green beans, lettuce, carrots and summer crops.
Plant and Machinery for Horticulture Business
You will need a variety of inputs and equipment for your horticulture business. To complement the labor, you may need various types of equipment such as tractors, irrigation and mechanical requirements and cultivars. These machines can be pricey and thus you may opt to keep most processes manual. You may also rent a tractor and other harvest machinery required.
Different provinces face different challenges as a result of climate. Considering climatic differences in provinces such as Manicaland, Harare, Matabeleland, it is imperative to carry out a research aimed at understanding the best season and conditions under which your produce will flourish. To add on, you need to understand the product itself before starting the horticulture business. A smart business man invests his time in seeking knowledge and decomposing information in order to understand everything concerning his business. Differences in climate create a gap and an opportunity to reduce competition for your produce. This means that you may be able to bargain for a better price for your produce. To add on, if you are considering exporting, European producers are limited and can only grow for a specific window period due to weather constraints. This is advantageous since in Zimbabwe as the weather can allow you to produce throughout the year.
Management and employees
The number of employees you need will depend on the size of your horticulture farming business. You will need foremen and a lot of employees. This is because the type of work to be done is labor intensive. To add on, work has to be done continuously until produce is harvested. To reduce labor costs you can employ use of an hourly rate pay and set a target amount of produce to be harvested and fix the amount of hours. The managers of the horticulture farm should be well trained in operating a horticulture business. Technical knowledge is essential to succeed in the horticulture business.
The agricultural sector in Zimbabwe plays a pivotal role in the development of the economy and thus it receives massive support from the government. This definitely is a plus for you and can help minimize the amount of initial outlay you require to kick start the horticulture business. Government offers various types of support ranging from financial to input materials.
On the contrary, if you fail to qualify for these incentives you have to set aside at least $25 000 to cover labor costs, machinery, purchase of vans, packaging and delivery costs. For a small scale farmer, $10 000 can help start your horticulture business.
For the produce to be attractive and on demand, quality plays an influential role. Where there is room for improvement, employ quality control and standards of packaging. This helps secure your market and opens doors to international horticulture export opportunities. Exploit and fully take advantage of value addition at source.
Proper management of costs and a goal towards pushing volumes feeds into better revenues and thus profits. Per annum a small scale horticulture farmer may earn at least $30 000.
We wish you the best in your horticulture business. Check out more business ideas and our collection of business plans. Like us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter, and subscribe to receive notifications of new posts in your email.
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