ZimTrade, Germany experts in banana value addition partnership

Monalisa Chikwengo

THE national trade development and promotion organisation, ZimTrade, has partnered with experts from Germany to assist 21 farmers in doing banana value addition in Honde Valley, in Manicaland in a move meant to encourage export-oriented agriculture and increase incomes for smallholder farmers.

The project will involve training and capacity building for the farmers on post-harvest handling, processing, packaging and building market linkages.

According to ZimTrade, the objective of the programme is to help farmers improve their operations and produce products, which are competitive in the global market.

“Through our strategic partnerships, we have engaged an expert from Germany SES (Senior Experten Service), a leading volunteering organisation that provides mentoring services to organisations worldwide, who has vast experience in working with farmers from across the globe in banana value addition. This expert took time to train the farmers and share his expertise in processing quality banana products for export,” ZimTrade said in a statement.

ZimTrade’s thrust this year has been focused on tapping into provincial clusters as well as developing them.

The Manicaland province is well known for its favourable climatic conditions that are conducive for the production of high yields from horticultural crops.

“Honde Valley in particular, is known for its abundance production of banana. The region has a natural progression as this area stands to benefit from organic certification and banana value addition training.  Our hope is to ensure that the clusters in this region will be organically certified and will work to produce various banana value added products for the export market,” continued ZimTrade.

Experts from Germany have provided technical assistance and knowledge transfer on best practices in value addition and export marketing.

“Farmers have attested to having learned a lot, including how to increase and diversify the value-added goods made using bananas. Banana fruit leather, a nutritious chewy snack, is a good illustration. Overripe bananas, which are typically plentiful and thrown aside in the area, are used to make banana leather. By using overripe bananas to make a value-added product, growers in the area will get money and less fruit will be wasted,” said ZimTrade.

Farmers were also taught to utilise green energy within their processes, reusing waste and other residue to improve soil texture and create an organic ecosystem to grow bananas.

Due to the global need for the preservation of soil composition, environmental sustainability, and the health consciousness of customers nowadays, organic farming is the way to go. With a projected annual growth of 12 percent per annum for organic food and beverage products, there is room for Zimbabwe to tap into this growing world demand, said ZimTrade.

ZimTrade will assist the processors by linking them with markets through the organisation’s buyer and seller missions as well as assistance in participating in international trade fairs so as to obtain business opportunities from outside the country.


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