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ZIMTRADE has called for diversification of export produce as interest in export business among small-holder farmers and youths grows.

The exports promoter also urged producers to focus on high-value produce with a ready market.

By focusing on high-value produce, the organisation said, local farmers were guaranteed to earn more from little pieces of land, which in turn makes it easy for the country to achieve the targeted higher export volumes.

ZimTrade said passion fruit and granadilla were among the most promising crops on the export market.

“In most rural areas where the fruits are common, they have been used as a hedge plant or wind barrier for many years.

“By no doubt, this long history with the fruits makes them some of the easy crops to integrate smallholder farmers, young people and rural communities into export business,” it said.

Passion fruit and granadilla are highly nutritious tropical fruits.

Growing demand for superfoods such as these crops, as consumers seek stronger immune systems against coronavirus, means local producers who venture into passion fruit and granadilla farming are assured of easy access to international markets, the organisation said.

“Although there is a ready demand for passion fruit in most international markets, the competition among producers is also increasing and those who secure markets now will have a sustainable access to the market. Hence, this is the right time to start production for local farmers who want to tap into the growing demand,” ZimTrade said.

“As Zimbabwe has a long history of passion fruit production at small-scale, this is the produce that can offer quick wins compared to granadilla.

“Currently, potential markets for Zimbabwe-grown passion fruit are European, African countries, and other emerging markets such as China, Japan, and United Arab Emirates,” ZimTrade said.

“In Europe, Zimbabwean farmers have a shot at the Netherlands, United Kingdom, France, and Germany.”

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