By Tapiwa Machemedze
GOVERNMENT will leverage on the re-engagement drive to ensure the horticulture industry gets access to affordable finance and regains niche export markets.
High priority has been given to reviving the horticulture industry, its entire value chain and regaining niche markets to increase foreign currency earnings.
The Minister of State in Vice President Retired General Dr Constantino Chiwenga’s officer, Honourable Evelyn Ndlovhu toured floriculture farm, Luxaflor Roses, in Concession this Tuesday to get an appreciation of the sector.
She expressed commitment to providing a policy framework and infrastructure necessary for the horticultural sector to flourish.
“You cannot revive this industry without affordable finance. The horticulture industry is major intensive, it employs a lot of women so it is important because if you empower a woman you empower a nation…..it is a very vital industry and we would want to reinstate it to 1980s levels and overtake Kenya, overtake Ethiopia. I know we can do it,” she said.
Luxalfor Roses, which is the largest exporter of roses in Zimbabwe, produces at least 30 million stems per year, and requires more capital to increase viability.
“Our vision is to grow the rose industry, floriculture and horticulture industry to go back to were it was in the 80s. Our products were well sort after in European market, that is all gone and we are trying to back to that,” he said.
The company which employs 630 people recently embarked on a programme endorsed by government to grow production from 22 to 200 hectares per year, 150 of which will be produced by out growers, particularly the youth.
At its peak in 1999, horticulture exports reached 143 million United States dollars and authorities feel the figure can be exceeded.
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