NHIMBE Fresh Exports has secured a $2,5 million loan facility from the Europe-based United Exports, which is aimed at boosting the production of blueberry, raspberry, stone fruit and some vegetables.
BY JAIROS SAUNYAMA
The three-year loan facility has already been approved by the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) and will attract an 8% annual interest rate.
Nhimbe owner, Edwin Moyo, said the company was aiming to increase its exports to more than $10 million.
“The RBZ on October 10 approved an investment of $2,5 million meant to develop the current projects at Churchill and Rakodzi farms in Marondera. Currently, our exports are at $6 million, but our projections are that next year, they will increase to $11m,” he said.
Moyo said about 20 hectares were currently under blueberry production and 12ha for raspberry, while 85ha has been dedicated to tobacco production.
He said Nhimbe Fresh Exports was partnering with government through remitting 1% of its exports profit for research purposes.
Speaking on the sidelines of a tour of Churchill and Rakodzi farms in Marondera on Tuesday, Agriculture, Mechanisation and Irrigation deputy minister David Marapira (crops and mechanisation) said there was need to capacitate the horticulture sector to increase production and boost exports.
“We are happy with the work that is being done at these farms despite the harsh economic conditions that we are currently experiencing as a country. As a ministry, we are supporting such farming activities so that we will be able to feed our nostro accounts. Horticulture will bring in the foreign currency through exports,” he said
“As part of efforts to support that, exporters do now enjoy a 5% incentive per export, while on the other hand, we will try to engage banks to reduce their interest rates. We are ready to assist the horticulture industry by giving farmers inputs and machinery.
“Currently, horticulture is contributing much to the country’s gross domestic product (GDP), though there is need to increase production.”
He added: “The farmer next door should emulate the activities being done here.
“The horticulture industry should go back to (contributing) 10% of GDP from the current 6%. We need to export. It doesn’t make sense that we export $600 million worth of tobacco at the same time importing maize worth the same amount. Farmers should work hard.”
Nhimbe Fresh Exports runs Springvale, Rakodzi, Sable and Churchill farms.