By Robert Tapfumaneyi
ZimTrade, the national trade development and promotion organisation, Monday signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with PUM, a Netherlands based volunteer organisation for retired experts and executives.
The MOU signed Monday will pave way for successful implementation of the Best Model farm project, which is meant to grow horticultural exports from small-scale farmers in the country.
The best Model Farm project was launched in January this year with ZimTrade and PUM collaborating with three medium sized farmers in Mashonaland East, West and Midlands provinces.
“Under the four-year pilot project, the three farms will be capacitated to on-board small-scale farmers as their out growers,” said Allan Mujuru, ZimTrade chief executive officer.
“The project, which is be replicated in other provinces across the country, is designed to improve access for small scale farmers and grow their contribution towards export earnings.
“The signed ceremony MOU will cover collaborations on infrastructure improvements on identified farms, technical skills development, logistics management and market development.
“The diversification of horticulture export products from selected regions will also be covered under the MOU and this is the second MOU signed between ZimTrade and PUM with the first signed in April 2016.”
Speaking at the same occasion, PUM chief executive officer Dick Erneste said their main goal was to deliver quality agricultural products.
“We will help the farmers to harvest high yields, longer shelf lives and meet market expectations for the European people,” said Dick.
“And also the local market will benefit from high quality products.
“As part of this farm model programme, PUM organised a PUM business link mission to the Netherlands for model farm owners to learn on how to increase exports from Zimbabwe to the Netherlands and vice versa.”
Willard Zireva, one of the beneficiaries of the model farm project, said the initiative clearly showed there was great potential for the country.
“We were in Netherlands for about 10 days. What we saw there is just amazing, and what they have managed to achieve as a small country through the help from PUM,” he said.
“And we hope as a country, we will try and borrow from those kind of initiatives and we hope it will bring better product for the country.”