Farming is a good sector to venture into especially here in Zimbabwe. Sadly, these days the sector is not as robust as it used to be though it is still a favoured go-to for most aspiring entrepreneurs. Farming in Zimbabwe entails several segments with two major segments being namely, crop farming and livestock farming. In this article, I will be focusing on crop farming. I will discuss some of the top crop farming business ideas for Zimbabwe.
If I had to tell you just one area of crop farming to get into that would be vegetable farming. You have plenty of room to choose because the crop(s) to pick from are many. Some of the common ones are green vegetables (cabbage, covo, rape, spinach, and so on), tomatoes, onions, carrots, cucumbers, lettuce, green pepper, and so on. Niching and market targeting can be done in so many ways. The most elementary approach is to simply grow any of these crops at your homestead and supply your immediate community. At the most advanced level, you can even grow vegetables for export.
This is for the serious players and those with land in favourable regions. Tobacco is the most important cash and export crop in Zimbabwe. Zimbabwe is the biggest producer of tobacco on the African continent. Globally we are the sixth biggest producer. This shows you how lucrative it can be to grow tobacco in Zimbabwe. Northern and eastern parts of Zimbabwe are the most suited for tobacco production. This is mainly due to the soil profiles found there and the incidence of favourable rainfall. Thus if you have land in those regions or can find land there tobacco farming can be a wise crop farming choice.
Small Grains Farming
The Zimbabwean climate has been gradually changing just like it has been all over the world. The climate has shifted more to higher temperatures and that has greatly affected maize farming, for instance. Rainfall has become so erratic that relying on natural rainfall is unwise. This presents two possible options for the type of crops to grow. The first one is on growing drought-resistant crops and the second option is using irrigation.
Here I am concerned with the former – drought-resistant crops. Small grains are a great fit given the aforementioned circumstances. Small grains are generally hardy crops i.e. they can withstand harsh conditions. Thus it would be strategic to grow them. Not only that, but small grains are also sought-after for common processes such as beer making or manufacturing and stock feed production, amongst others. Some examples to highlight here are sorghum, millet, and rapoko.
Maize is the staple food or crop of Zimbabwe. Even though its production has dwindled over the years it remains a major crop of importance to the nation. I, like anyone of you, would concur, believe that we should not import maize when we are endowed with so much land. The fact that we now seasonally encounter maize shortages speaks to the potency of starting a maize farming business. Given the weather and climate dynamics at play, it would be best to employ farming strategies such as irrigation, greenhouse farming, and the like. Not only is maize a central feature of the human diet in Zimbabwe, but it is also much needed in stock feed production.
In crop farming, there are certain crops that most farmers start from seedlings. One of the most active domains for that is vegetable farming. A significant number of vegetable crops are best grown to start with seedlings. Premised on that you can start a business where you identify commonly sought crops, you source seeds, grow seedlings and sell them to farmers. Some examples of seedlings that farmers usually look for are cabbages, covo, rape, spinach, and tomatoes, just to mention a few.
This is an interesting niche which is very lucrative in Zimbabwe – you just have to be smart in rolling out the business. Moments ago I touched on plant nurseries; often time people into that tend to diversify into or couple it with ornamental crops. In case you are wondering what ornamental crops are they are crops or plants that are grown specifically for decorative and landscaping purposes. Owing to the home and building construction boom in Zimbabwe the demand for ornamental crops is there. With good market research, you can start a profitable business in this regard.
Maize and tobacco are of colossal significance to Zimbabwe so they deserved exclusive mentions. As for the other crops, I categorized because I did not want to end up excluding some crops that might be important.