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HDC Collaboration With COLEACP

Updated: May 3, 2023

A very productive dialogue between COLEACP and Zimbabwe’s Horticultural Development Council (CEO Mrs. Linda Nielsen and Chairman Mr. Stanley Heri) has led to the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding and action plan. The agreement includes technical and capacity-building support through the Fit For Market programme to promote smallholder development through horticulture and outgrower schemes.

HDC Chairman Mr. Stanley Heri of the Zimbabwe Export Produce Growers Association, a former Chairman of COLEACP (2004–10), has a deep-rooted knowledge of the horticultural sector in the region. Mr. Heri told COLEACP that “Zimbabwe has the potential to regain its ‘bread basket of Africa’ status because government, in realizing the strategic role of the sector in terms of contribution to economic development, rural employment and food security, is supporting and facilitating the recovery of the sector.”

HDC was newly formed in 2020 in response to industry challenges such as user-unfriendly macro-economic policies, sector fragmentation, international isolation, knowledge and information gaps – and Covid-19. The cut flower sector was particularly affected, ending the season prematurely due to the disruption and subsequent closure of the Dutch auction system and grounding of passenger flights.

According to Mr. Heri, ““The Zimbabwean horticulture sector is currently characterized by significant knowledge, information, and skills gaps. COLEACP is strategic in addressing these critical success factors through training. Secondly, development of a website is vital in raising the profile of the sector locally, regionally and internationally.”

Mr. Heri lists the following critical issues facing the sector in 2021:

  • Creation of a favorable business environment and improving the ease of doing business through appropriate policy reforms

  • Increased coordination of sector development initiatives

  • Increased networking of stakeholders within the sector and with the international community

  • Increase in the volume and diversity of horticultural crops produced by a given farmer per month, increase in household income, improved livelihoods and household food security

  • Increase in the export earnings per farmer and for the national economy

  • Effective implementation of the HDC strategy and National Horticulture Recovery and Growth Plan, which will require effective use of human and financial resources

  • Investment into infrastructure and logistics development appropriate to production growth projection for both domestic and export sectors

  • Access to improved investment incentives and access to finance for capital improvements by horticultural producers and exporters

  • Growth in traditional markets and increase in new export markets in new destinations, e.g. USA, Asia, Middle East and the Far East

  • Increase in the number of farmers practicing climate-smart, sustainable agricultural practices specific to their sector.

The HDC Strategy 2021–2025 is titled “Growth and transformation – shaping the future of Zimbabwe’s horticulture”. A private sector association formed in 2020, the Council unites horticultural producers and exporters to represent the interests of the horticultural export trade in Zimbabwe, promoting and supporting the sustainable growth of horticultural exports. HDC members include individual producers, producer groups, farmers’ unions, export companies, horticultural companies and farmers’ federations.

HDC supports Zimbabwe’s National Agriculture Policy Framework and the US$2 billion Horticulture Recovery Plan (CITE, 7 October 2020), which is targeting 1.8 million rural households. The plan envisages the realization of a US$1.217 billion annual rural horticulture economy by 2025, growing to US$3.5 billion by 2030, that would be equivalent to income amounting to US$675 and US$2000 per household by 2025 and 2030, respectively.

Article by COLEACP

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