Following a story published by this publication titled, Zimbabwe Government Urged to Export To UAE, there was phenomenal questions and responses as farmers wanted to know what they can do to export their produce.
The Agronomist, Jeremiah Matambu will be writing Agriculture articles every fortnight on this platform as well as outlining and attending to issues that might rise up.
Hope you will enjoy your first edition of Lets talk farming with your agronomist.
LETS TALK FARMING WITH YOUR AGRONOMIST
Jeremiah Matambu Writes
After my interview with this publication, I received overwhelming response from various people who were eager to know more about some of the standards for a farmer to penetrate the export markets.
There are so many standards depending on the market you intend to supply.
In agriculture we have Global Gap, TESCO, BRC, USDA Organic and some others.
Some markets demand you to be compliant with social and or environmental standards such as SMETA, Fairtrade and SIZA
We will focus much on the GLOBAL GAP standard in general.
It is a voluntary standard used by over 135 countries with more than 200 000 farmers registered.
The most widely used GLOBAL G.A.P. standard is Integrated Farm Assurance (IFA), applicable for fruit and vegetables, aquaculture, floriculture, livestock, and more.
This standard also forms the basis for the GGN label.
If you pass an audit, you are given a GGN stamp that is different from any other farmer.
That stamp will assure the consumers that the product you grow has passed all the necessary requirements in accordance with the standard and can be traced back to the farm it was produced.
This food safety system helps in improving customer certification that all the produce being supplied was produced in a safe and responsible manner.
If a farmer or group of farmers intend to be certified there are registered trainers on the Global Gap website who can assist you to get the certificate.
You can also consult your local Extension Officers who will give you relevant information on how to navigate through.
The biggest question was how a farmer can know the right standard to follow if they want to get into the export market.
Any farmer or serious entrepreneur should do market research first before venturing into any farming business.
This will give an insight of what potential buyers would want.
There are various organisations in Zimbabwe that can help farmers through sharing information, training, and market linkages.
These organisations include Agritex, ZIMTRADE, Farmers Unions such as ZFU, CFU, Young farmers Club and other various stakeholders.
They have potential customers and buyers in their databases that are ready to buy Zimbabwean fruit and vegetables long as they meet the quality and required standards.
I would strongly advice those willing to learn and get relevant information before venturing into farming to attend workshops and Agriculture Shows business meetings and conferences.
ART farm in Mt Pleasant is a fertile ground for networking and getting to know various varieties and trials done.
If you attend some of their field days, you will learn a lot and become a better farmer.
Do not just go to attend the Harare Agriculture show for pomp and fanfare on the last Saturday of the show.
Rather, take the opportunity during the week to visit and get relevant information from potentials buyers, financiers, and agents.
Attend to the business conferences.
If you have access to social networks, I highly recommend you join WhatsApp groups, Twitter, and YouTube Channels.
You will learn current trends and technologies.
What are your waiting for! Consider penetrating the export market and enjoy the benefits.
Jeremiah Matambu is an Agronomist and Quality Specialist based in UAE. For further consultations you can get hold of me on email@example.com