By Gay Matambo
GARLIC farming is gaining impetus in various parts of the country with schools in Chiredzi West venturing into production of the crop for commercial purposes.
Bankrolled by the Legislator of the area, Honourable Farai Musikavanhu, the initiative is off the ground with pilot projects.
“I have identified garlic production as a game-changer in how we can empower our schools to be able to sustain their operations on their own. By this time next year, all schools in Chiredzi West will be self-sustaining. We have brought in Zimtrade to assist us in identifying export markets for our garlic and other high-value crops which can be used by schools for their own infrastructure development programmes,” he said.
The project is expected to guarantee constant income for the schools, which often rely on government and non-governmental organisations for assistance in times of need.
“If we manage to implement this project well, the levies and money that parents pay for school development programmes will be removed because the schools will be self-sustainable through agricultural projects,” said Chiredzi District Schools Inspector, Mr Norman Sharara
Zimbabwe’s trade promotion and development body – ZimTrade is impressed by the recent economic activity in Chiredzi which has also seen caregivers from Tshakamaoko vegetable garden in Tshovani going into garlic production.
“Its a product for the market. Due to Covid-19, it created a huge opportunity for the product. It is a product we encourage farmers to grow. They are also opportunities for butternuts, lettuce and paprika. Those are some of the products that farmers can look for, noted Zimtrade Promotion Officer, Mr Alex Mutandi.
Garlic production in Zimbabwe increased by more than 600 per cent last year as demand for the cash crop soared due to the Covid-19 pandemic while there is also a ready export market with China being the largest garlic market in the world.