Smallholder garlic farmers in Gutu Central Constituency of Zimbabwe have partnered with ZimTrade and local seed houses to boost their yields.
The partnership is expected to help the farmers in exporting their produce to international markets.
Minister of Mines and Mining Development, Winston Chitando, who is a legislator from the constituency, started the garlic production initiative about three years ago.
The villagers, who welcomed the idea, started production and within a year earned some households over US$6 000.
The smallholders have, therefore, expressed their interest in penetrating the foreign market through increased production and output.
Speaking with Zimbabwe’s The Heard, a farmer, Mrs Felistas Dzinoreva, from Dzinoreva village in Ward 35, mentioned that she was able to use a portion of the money she made from the last harvest to get a water pump to start irrigation farming.
“Through garlic production, I was able to raise school fees for my children, buy some household utensils and save some for my children’s pocket money. Having started this project last year, I must admit that it has brought me some financial relief which I never knew was possible for women in the villages,” she said.
Other farmers were also upbeat about the expansion, saying it would help to increase job availability for young people and women.
On his part, Chitando explained that the goal of the initiative is to ensure that local communities do not rely on donors and government aids during drought and other emergencies.
The minister said, “Next year, we are looking at putting in 15 tonnes worth of seed. If you look at an average production of 7 tonnes per hectare, we want to get 80 tonnes [out of it]. We are also considering a partnership with SeedCo so that we would utilise over 150,000 hectares.
“Agan, we are also looking at chilli production. This is part of the horticulture program that was launched by His Excellency, President Emmerson Mnangagwa.”