President Emmerson Mnangagwa has commended the Gutu Central Constituency Member of Parliament Honourable Winston Chitando for coming up with an export oriented garlic project for people in his constituency.
In a speech read on his behalf by Zanu PF Secretary for Administration, Dr Obert Mpofu, at the official launch of the Gutu Central constituency garlic export programme yesterday, President Mnangagwa said such projects can stimulate industrialisation of rural areas.
“I am inspired by the garlic farming success by the people of Gutu Central constituency whose farming vision has export orientation.
“I want to thank you Honourable Chitando for coming up with adapted garlic project with export orientation to the people of Gutu Central Constituency.
“Such projects being implemented at rural level have a scope to lead to rural industrialization.
“The NDS1 economic blueprint encourages our farmers to take advantage of a combination of low hanging fruits or quick win projects with a medium term impact as well as projects with a longer term impact,” he said.
Speaking at the event, Honourable Winston Chitando who is also a Minister of Mines and Mining Development said smallholder garlic growers in Gutu Central Constituency have entered into a partnership with ZimTrade and local seed houses to increase their productivity.
He said that the arrangement will also enable them to export their produce to international markets.
“This programme started in 2018 as a pilot program for 3 years and we were aiming to achieve two things, firstly to confirm that garlic can be grown in Gutu and secondly we wanted to get the appetite of our farmers to grow garlic and also the confidence.
“It started slowly in 2018, it was a difficult sale, 2019 it was better and when people realised the returns in 2019, then 2020 we had more farmers participating.
“The highest earning farmer last year got US$ 6 000 from a garden and a lot of farmers who testify today got lots of money, over thousands.
“As a result there is so much appetite from amongst the farmers to participate, so we are now moving from a pilot plan to full implementation and full implementation entails growing the garlic for export,” he said.
He added that they are targeting 37 schools in the Constituency to train them to grow organic garlic.
“To grow garlic for export you need certification and we are doing organic garlic with no chemicals and no fertilisers.
“Moving a gear up we have 37 schools in the constituency and we have asked each school to reserve half a hectare for garlic and if they do it properly on half a hector each school should get 7,500 kilogrammes.
“If they take 500 kilogrammes to plant for the following year they are left with 7000 kilogrammes, which at US$3 or US$4 each, schools should get over US$ 20 000 from half a hectare.
“Those are the targets for next year, at the moment initially each school we would want it to start with 2 000 square metres this year progressing to half a hectare next year.
“When it is now on its peak garlic is grown in March, harvested in September.In October we grow ginger which is then harvested in February, then the cycle goes on.
“The whole idea of the school’s programme for garlic is for each school to earn a minimum of US$40 000 from garlic and ginger per annum, that will substantially affect the finances of all our schools so that’s the journey of the garlic programme,” he said.
The event was graced by a number of agricultural stakeholders including the Minister of Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water and Rural Resettlement Dr Anxious Masuka, Minister of Primary and Secondary Education Cain Mathema, Zimtrade CEO Allan Majuru among others.