By Zvikomborero Machirori
Zimbabwe is targeting to receipt over US$500 million from exporting Blueberries in the next three years after exports dropped to 70 million annually in the last few years.
Blueberries have proven to be a major boost for the country’s horticulture recovery and growth as Zimbabwe now exports more than 5 000 tonnes annually.
Currently, Zimbabwe receives an average of US$65 million from Blueberry exports.
Permanent Secretary in the Agriculture Dr John Bhasera said systems that have been put in place to revive the horticulture sector in the country are beginning to bear fruit.
“We believe that we are moving in the right direction in terms of getting back those glory numbers where Zimbabwe used to receive US$143 million from horticulture exports,” said Bhasera.
“So, blueberry is one of those horticultural options which we definitely need to promote.”
Bhasera was speaking during a tour of Ivanhoe Farm that produces Blueberries, to inspect how the recovery and growth plan is progressing.
Zimbabwe has become a leader in the Southern African Development Community in the production of high-quality Blueberries according to reports by ZimTrade.
The Ivanhoe Farm Blueberry project is set to benefit locals through direct employment creation and downstream opportunities.
At the moment about 400 people are employed permanently while over 1000 are seasonal workers.
Ivanhoe Farm owner Bob Henson said through project, they have set in motion plans to construct a clinic and a school to improve the livelihoods of workers and their families.
“Next year we will be building a school and a clinic as a way of upgrading the general lifestyle, so that we have happier workers,” said Henson.