Herald Reporter

The Agriculture Marketing Authority (AMA) will open market hubs for horticulture produce as Zimbabwe targets food self-sufficiency, in a development expected to allow farmers access to structured and organised markets, chief executive officer Mr Clever Isaya has said.

Starting with Harare, AMA said it will open a stand-alone mass market for potatoes to accommodate the recent increase in volumes.

Potatoes are regarded as a national strategic crop in Zimbabwe.

Mbare Musika is Zimbabwe’s largest formal market for potatoes and other horticulture products, accounting for the majority of volumes traded per week.

However, amid the market’s lack of expansion to accommodate a growing number of farmers who want to sell their fresh produce, several new ways to circumvent that dilemma are being used.

Mr Isaya said lack of access to markets has been a perennial challenge for farmers, leading to subdued trade volumes.

“Creation of these market hubs will boost sales and the horticultural subsector contribution to the economy,” he said.

Last week, AMA hosted a horticulture subsector meeting to canvass stakeholder contributions to strategies meant to enhance production and marketing of horticultural crops.

The meeting brought together the Agriculture ministry, producers, manufacturers and farmers’ unions, among other key players.

Horticulture sub-sector is presently fragmented and output low.

However, the enactment of foreign direct investment-friendly laws and the setting up of a regulatory environment that supports its success, has put horticulture on a trajectory to contribute more to the country’s agro-economy.

Mr Isaya said to increase the national export value from horticulture, modern technologies needed to be adopted and implemented in areas of production and marketing.

As plans to grow the agriculture sector continue, President Mnangagwa recently launched the Agriculture and Food Systems Transformation Strategy that is expected to lead to a US$8,2 billion agriculture economy by 2025.

AMA was formed through an Act of Parliament in 2004 and has been pushing for increased use of digital applications in the execution of its mandate.