Agriculture is the backbone of Zimbabwe's economy and will continue to be so in the foreseeable future. Although agriculture contributes only 11-14 percent of GDP, the sector provides employment for some 70 percent of the population, and about 60 percent of all raw materials for the industry. About 45 percent of the country's exports are of agricultural origin.
While most rain falls during summer months (November to March), some parts of the country, particularly in the Eastern Highlands, receive some rain during the winter months and this widens production possibilities. A considerable potential exists for the production of irrigated crops during dry months in areas where stored water supplies are available.
Recent droughts have caused the agricultural sector to experience crop failure and livestock losses, this greatly undermining the national herd now stands at 4,9 million, a figure well below the pre-drought situation.
Here is investment potential in the following areas:
-Citrus fruit production and processing
About 6000 hectares are under citrus cultivation in Zimbabwe. Citrus fruits grown include grapefruits, lemons, naartijies, nectarines and oranges. Types of oranges grown are in line with what the consumers want, which is a fruit of the right size, colour which must be orange, skin texture and good external and internal qualities.
-Mushroom production and processing
Potential export markets for Zimbabwean mushroom include Japan, SA, France, Italy, Germany and the USA.
-Soya bean production and processing
In Zimbabwe Soya beans contribute 30 % of all the cooking oil production while cottonseed contributes 50%.
-Tea and coffee production and processing
Tea is one crop that can be grown on a very small scale because of the productivity and its resistance to pests and diseases. Some farmers even plant it at the backyard of their homes.
Zimbabwe is the second largest producer in Africa after Kenya and is the fifth producer in the world. There is a potential to expand the industry to three or four times larger and still remain profitable. This is based on the fact that the industry produces the cheapest flowers in Africa due to cost –effective production; the markets for the produce are available.
Honey production and processing
I Makoni District of Manicaland province, there are over 600 registered beekeepers, each with a minimum of four beehives. One beehive can yield 20 litres of honey per harvest. Harvesting is done three times a year for well managed hives. This translates to z$144 million per annum. After harvesting, honey can be further processed into clear syrup.
Poultry production and processing
The industry has a high potential for growth since Zimbabwe is ideally suited to poultry production due to the favourable mild climate that is ideal for chickens and for growing both maize and Soya which are main sources for the industry.
Wheat and Barley production and processing
Wheat is the second staple food in Zimbabwe after maize. Barley is used for production of clear beer. There is barley malt.
Pork production and processing
Pig industry is comprised of both small-scale and large scale pig producers who breed their own pigs and fatten them up to slaughter stage. Zimbabwe has excellent agriculture conditions for the competitive production of pigs.
Dairy production and processing
Zimbabwe is the second country after South Africa with an organised dairy industry in Africa.
Information courtesy of Industrial Development Corporation(IDC)