Zimtrade has signed a memorandum of understanding with Dutch senior expert consultancy PUM to grow horticultural exports, but the Dutch organisation is demanding expedition of land bankability by Harare as part of enablers for the strategic deal.
PUM is a Netherlands-based volunteer organisation for retired experts and executives.
The MOU will pave way for the successful implementation of the Best Model Farm project which is meant to grow horticultural exports from small scale farmers in Zimbabwe
The Best Farm project was launched in January 2019, with Zimtrade and PUM collaborating with three medium-sized farms from Mashonaland East, West and Midlands Provinces.
Under the four year pilot project, the three farms will be capacitated to on-board small scale farmers as their out growers.
The project which will be replicated in other provinces across the country is designed to improve market access for small scale farmers and grow their contribution towards export earnings.
PUM chief executive Dick Enerste said: “This project will go a long way in advancing the horticultural exports initiative and through collaboration, it will be a success.”
Zimtrade chief executive Allan Majuru said this is the second MOU signed between Zimtrade and MOU and is aimed at growing horticultural exports for Zimbabwe.
“This is a welcome initiative and we have been working with PUM on various projects which have proven to be successful. We see potential in growing horticultural exports and PUM has come with a solution,” said Majuru.
Netherlands Ambassador to Zimbabwe added that the issue of land bankability and security of tenure needs to be addressed to ensure the success of this model farms project.
“It is with all this in mind that Netherlands is proud to contribute to sustainable agriculture practices in other countries. The issue of security of tenure and land bankability needs to be addressed by government of Zimbabwe to ensure further investment in agriculture.”
The signed MOU will cover collaboration on infrastructure improvements on identified farms, technical skills development, logistics management and market development. The diversification of horticultural export products from selected regions will also be covered under the MOU.
This is the second MOU signed between Zimtrade and PUM with the first signed in April 2016.
The Netherlands government through its embassy in Harare is one of the key partners for this initiative and will offer financial support towards operationalisation of the MOU.
As part of this farm model program, PUM organised a PUM business link mission for the Netherlands for the model farm owners on November 11 -17, 2019.