Zimbabwe horticulture targets $1 billion exports

Zimbabwe’s horticultural sector, ravaged by violent land seizures 20 years ago, is recovering thanks to increased investment and is targeting $1 billion in exports by 2030, an industry body said on Thursday.

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The southern African country’s horticultural exports peaked at $140 million in 1999, before former President Robert Mugabe championed the seizure of white-owned farms to resettle landless blacks.

Zimbabwe is now earning $120 million annually from exports of horticultural products including citrus, flowers, tea, avocados, blueberries and macadamia nuts, according to the Horticultural Development Council (HDC). “We have to grow 10 times to reach this goal and obviously it calls for rapid expansion in the sector,” HDC Vice President Linda Nielsen told a horticultural conference in Harare.

The land seizures disrupted Zimbabwe’s agriculture-driven economy, triggering food shortages and a lengthy economic crisis marked by 500 billion percent hyperinflation in 2008.