GWERU: The second wave of COVID-19, which has triggered lockdowns across Europe, has sent the horticulture farming sector into panic mode with local players now looking for alterative markets in Asia, CommuTalk has learnt.
The new reality emerged during a tour of Lindfield farm, 20 km out of Gweru yesterday where a commercial horticulture farmer harvesting flowers is facing an uncertain future with regards to marketing his produce in the wake of a new wave of COVID-19 in his traditional markets.
Lingfield farm operations manager, Tatenda Karimazondo who traded his accounts job for continuing his family’s farming legacy that was established in the early 90’s says there is need to come up with new marketing strategies in order to sustain flower farming business.
“We had orders from countries like England and Germany. However, the second wave of the pandemic might mean shops will be closed in these countries with business people only delivering essentials to people’s homes.
“This might affect us. We are now looking at other markets like Russia and United Arab Emirates where our products are said to be on high demand,” Karimazondo said.
It is almost four years since Karimazondo took over farm operations and says there is much potential in the trade.
Farm Manager Jairos Madyira says they plant five varieties of flowers in summer as it is tha appropriate season. He also added that they also plant other varieties that have a lengthy life span.
In an interview with Voice of America (VOA) Zimbabwe, the farm also disclosed that they export at least two tonnes per week to Netherlands and also disclosed that in the selling season they make approximately $500 000.
Minister of State in Vice President Retired General Dr Constantino Chiwenga’s office, Evelyne Ndlovu, who toured the farm, commended the indigenous farmers for fully utilising their land.
“What we have seen here is a clear indication that our people can do well with the land. This is a sign that as a country we can be our own liberators in turning around the fortunes of our economy.
“I however implore the farmers to pass on the knowledge and expertise they have to other farmers and Agriculture students so that we can have more of such capable farmers in the country,” she said.
Government recently launched the Agriculture revival strategy with hopes high that there will be a turnaround of horticulture production in the country.