Rumbidzayi Zinyuke Manicaland Bureau
Support towards smallholder farmers in Manicaland by the commercial producers is set to boost agricultural production and economic growth in Chipinge District.
It is also set to increase the sector’s contribution to the fiscus.
Chipinge Central legislator Cde Raymond Machingura said small-scale macadamia and tea farmers in Chipinge had been receiving tremendous support from the private sector which had helped to increase production.
“We have commercial companies like Makandi and Tanganda here in Chipinge, who have ventured into macadamia production. Macadamia production has potential to contribute significantly to the Gross Domestic Product. We also want to encourage our small-scale macadamia producers to contribute to the growth of the sector. If they work with the big producers, we can achieve this,” he said.
He said if the small-scale producers work with the large producers, they might minimise the risk of being cheated by middle men who offer low prices for their crop when the farmer could get so much more.
Cde Machingura said tea production has also brought hope to the farmers in Chipinge.
“We have commercial and small-scale tea growers, and for a long time, the smallholder farmer has been feeding into the commercial and that relationship is working well,” he said.
“In the past, our tea growers had started shifting to macadamia production because of the low prices they were getting. But this has since begun to change and we are seeing more farmers come back to tea production.”
Cde Machingura said there was room for investment in value addition.
“We have gathered that macadamia can be used for a lot of things when they reach foreign markets. Besides the nuts being shelled and roasted, we understand that the shells themselves can be used to make furniture.
We have not had anyone explain how it really works, but we would like to learn how it can be done. If we can get someone who does this value addition for us in Chipinge, our farmers can go very far,” he added.