ZIMBABWE – Nhimbe Fresh, Zimbabwe’s leading horticultural firm has secured US$15 million investment from an undisclosed United Arab Emirates investor, to expand its fruit production.

Being Africa’s premier producer of horticultural produce, Nhimbe produces fresh vegetables, blueberries, raspberries, strawberries, potatoes, tomatoes, seed maize, onions, peaches and nectarines, among others for both the local and export market.

“The projects would see the company realizing US$18 million in revenue per year and employ 4 000 people.”

Mr Edwin – Chief executive Nhimbe Fresh

The funding acquired will be channelled towards development of other fruit crops including lemons, avocados and pecan nuts under its Stone Fruit project in Marondera in the Mashonaland East Province, reports The Herald.

“The facility has been secured and some works have already started on our 82.5 hectares stone fruit farm in Marondera,” said Chief executive Mr Edwin.

For other fruit crops, the company is planning to engage land holders under contract farming arrangements.

All the produce are targeted to be exported to the United Arab Emirates, whose fruits and vegetables market was valued at US$ 3,731million in 2018, and it is projected to grow at a CAGR of 9.93% in 2020-2025, according to a report by Research and Markets.

To further its investments, Nhimbe recently raised a substantial amount after its local bond was fully subscribed. The funds will go towards expansion of its 200ha blueberry farm, of which the company has also secured offshore funding for the same project.

According to Mr Edwin, the fruition of the projects would see the company realising US$18 million in revenue per year and employ 4 000 people.

In addition, all its farms and a pack house will be solar powered courtesy of a US$1.5 million investment it acquired to build a 1.2-megawatt plant.

Zimbabwe’s horticultural market is estimated to register a CAGR of 2.5% in 2020-2025 and is promising to be one of the country’s major foreign currency earners.

The country’s exports in 2018 rose by 116% to US$112 million from US$52 million recorded in the previous year, lifted by new products which were previously not exported.

The European Union remain the largest market for Zimbabwe’s horticultural products and accounts for 43 percent of total horticulture exports, according to Trade Map.

Other main importers from the EU region are Portugal, Italy, Spain, Ireland, Sweden, Belgium, Malta, Romania and Greece.

The launch of the African Continental Free Trade Area will also create huge opportunities for Zimbabwe to export into the region, mainly to Mozambique, Zambia, Botswana and the Democratic Republic of Congo, which have lesser controls.

Other potential markets exist in Germany and Asia, particularly in Japan while Dubai is emerging as a strong market.

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