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Horticulture and the Growing of Crops in Zimbabwe
This report focuses on the Zimbabwean horticultural sector and the growing of crops, particularly the staple crop, maize, and the main cash crops, sugar cane, tobacco and seed cotton. Although more than 60% of Zimbabwe’s population depends on agriculture for employment, the contribution of the agricultural sector to a dwindling GDP amounted to only 14% in 2014 and an estimated 12% in 2015. Statistics from the United States Department of Agriculture indicate that of the approximately 239,000 commercial farmers, there are only 300 large-scale farmers with farms averaging 2,200 hectares in size. Low crop production means that food for domestic consumption has to be met by imports, mainly from South Africa.
Government support is strong because of the high employment, rural income generation and food security the sector promises. However, high inputs costs, low prices for most commodities, the reliance on erratic rainfall, electricity shortages and the lack of finance for farmers are some of the problems confronting Zimbabwe’s agricultural sector. Currently the agricultural sector is being devastated by the drought, which was finally declared a national disaster in February 2016.
Horticulture and the Growing of Crops in Zimbabwe describes the local agricultural sector, the impact of the drought which has resulted in 26% of the population suffering from starvation, and factors influencing the success of the sector. The report profiles ten major players including sugar cane producer, Hippo Valley Estates Ltd, and sugar and ethanol producer Triangle Sugar Corporation Ltd which employs more than 11,800 people at its mill, refinery and ethanol plant. Also profiled are Seed Co Zimbabwe (Pvt) Ltd, which produces 29,018 tons of seed per annum, and Cottco Holdings Ltd, which has five established cotton ginneries and 25 depo