The Horticulture Development Council (HDC) said that pea production is expected to decline this winter due to high production costs.
However, while producer prices remain unchanged, there is a risk of higher production costs.
HDCC tweeted yesterday that there will be a discount on the area under peas this season.
The market survey in the same tweet attributed the expected decline to a small increase in pea prices along with a large increase in production.
“There was a slight increase in the price of peas of about 5, 6 percent, which fell far short of the increase that growers saw in the price of inputs,” the Twitter post said.
At yesterday’s HDC breakfast meeting, the Fresh Produce Producers Association of Zimbabwe (EFGAZ) released the results of a survey of 13 pea farmers. The combined hectare of the farmers has decreased from 436.6 hectares to 328.6 hectares and is planned to decrease to 169 hectares in 2021, 2022 and 2023 respectively.
Meanwhile, the same tweet stated that blueberry expansion plans are in doubt as producers focus on current farms.
“Blueberry prices are mostly the same but some are down due to competition from Peru,” he tweeted.
The post also encouraged the industry to pursue environmentally friendly market requirements, such as by shipping instead of air freight.
“There is pressure from the market to shift to sea instead of air freight in the coming season to reduce carbon footprint,” he continued on Twitter.
Efforts to reach HDC CEO Ms. Linda Nielsen were futile as she was unavailable for comment at the time of going to press.
Meanwhile, Zimbabwe Berry Growers Association vice-chairman Mr Stewart Thore said everything in the blueberry supply chain is facing headwinds with high interest rates and foreign exchange inflows.
“The cost of fuel, labour, electricity, inputs and transport have all gone up, and at the current rate it threatens the viability of the farmer.
“25 per cent of exporters’ foreign exchange receipts is working as tax,” said Mr Thor.
The government raised interest rates by 200 percent per annum to discourage speculative lending in the domestic market. This led to borrowers shifting from domestic to foreign currency.
“The 12 to 14 percent interest rate that lenders charge domestically is high compared to five to seven percent in the expanding international market.
Mr Tor added: “This, coupled with limited offshore finance coming into Zimbabwe, is militancy against blueberry expansion.”
To meet the challenge of viability, Mr. Tore believes the government needs to provide exporters with incentives such as 100 percent foreign exchange retention and patient capital.
Exporters complained about the challenge of electricity payment in foreign currency as well as exporters to get money from foreign currency auction floors.
Zimbabwe’s unique selling point in the blueberry industry is the quality, taste and timing of production as the country’s blueberries hit the market in winter, before rival Peru floods the market with 300 000 tonnes of produce.
Peru’s proximity to the market has added value. The market for exporters to go green through sea shipping will extend the time it takes to get the country’s produce to Europe.
This has had a negative impact on the country’s dearth due to low supply relative to demand.