NHIMBE Fresh, one of Zimbabwe’s largest horticultural firms, said it is targeting to grow exports to US$80 million by 2026 by expanding production of high value crops.
Nhimbe exports blueberries, raspberries, strawberries, stone fruit, snap peas and snow peas to major international grocery retailers in the United Kingdom, European Union, United Arab Emirates and South Africa.
This year, the company is expecting to generate US$9 million from exports, up from US$8 million in 2021
“We are going to expand our production base through developing small holder farmers who will do potatoes, sweet potatoes, red onions, garlic, ginger and butternuts for the United Arab Emirates,” Nhimbe chief executive Dr Edwin Moyo said.
Nhimbe maintains a strong focus on sustainability and uplifting surrounding communities.
The company runs an outgrower scheme, working with hundreds of smallholder farmers who receive specialised training and support to gain vast access to export markets.
This week, Nhimbe started planting OZblu jullietta blueberry plants, a new variety whose demand on international markets is growing. “We have already registered the new variety with the ministry of agriculture and we are targeting 200 hectares,” he said.
“We are priming ourselves for niche markets in the US, United Kingdom, Canada and China.
“We are excited about these opportunities. We have reconfigured our park house to handle the new variety, we have bought new equipment and more is coming,” he added.
Over the past few years, the company has attracted foreign direct investment worth US$8 million for building a solar plant, the development of blueberries and expansion of water storage capacity. Early this year, Nhimbe commissioned a 1,9 megawatts (MW) solar plant to power operations at its Marondera facilities.
South African energy start-up Sun Exchange raised US$1,4 million in a crowd sale, so far the largest in Africa after investors purchased individual solar cells in the project.
In return, investors will earn a rental income from the electricity generated.
The crowd sale attracted nearly 2 000 buyers from the US, Europe, Australia and South Africa.
Sun Exchange said investors in the solar farm will earn a monthly income stream for 20 years, with an estimated internal rate of return of 16,71 percent in rand terms.
The introduction of continuous, reliable power, at a lower cost instead of running diesel generators, is forecast to reduce the Nhimbe facilities’ energy costs by more than 60 percent and carbon emissions by more than one million kilograms per year.
Nhimbe also commissioned the Churchill Dam with a holding capacity of 900 million gallons.
“These projects are meant to manage climate change and we are looking to invest more in increasing our water storage capacity,” said Dr Moyo, former CEO of Kondozi Farm.