Harare – The national trade development and promotion, ZimTrade on Monday December 2 2019 signed a memorandum of understanding with a Dutch business support organisation of experts, PUM that is meant to grow horticultural exports from small scale farmers in Zimbabwe.
In a joint press statement, ZimTrade and PUM said the MoU will pave way for successful implementation of the Best Model Farm Project, which is meant to grow horticultural exports from small scale farmers.
“The best model farm was launched in January 2019, with ZimTrade and PUM collaborating with three medium-sized farms from Mashonaland East, West and Midlands provinces,” reads part of the statement.
Horticulture is a specialised form of farming that demands on a fairly wet climate, good soils, relatively low temperatures and a consistent water supply throughout the year.
Agriculture is the backbone of Zimbabwe’s economy contributing approximately 17% to the country’s GDP.
However, the country’s agricultural sector is now a shadow of its former glory characterised now by underproduction.
The Netherlands, however, have hope that they can help resuscitate the country’s agricultural sector.
“I believe, through collaborations like these, Zimbabwe’s agriculture sector can be rebuilt and increase its regional competitiveness.” Said Barbara Van Hellenmond, Netherlands ambassador to Zimbabwe.
Netherlands is the world’s second food exporter after the United States with 10% of its GDP generated by agricultural production.
It is home to Zimbabwe’s horticultural products that are transported thrice a week on cargo flight, only to be redistributed amongst other nations.
Ambassador said the Netherlands intend to help implement sustainable agriculture in Zimbabwe using a similar model which has worked well for the Dutch producing as much twice food using less resources.
“The other expertise more important and beneficial for Zimbabwe is sustainable agriculture using less resources and producing more food, it is important to use less water and Zimbabwe can learn from us. Normally a kilo of tomatoes required 65litres of water but that has been significantly reduced to 5 litres of water.” She said.
According to PUM, the signed MoU will cover collaboration on infrastructure improvements on identified farms, technical skills development, logistics management and market development.
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