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Agriculture

Agriculture is the mainstay of the Zimbabwean economy and provides many raw materials required by the manufacturing sector. It has been the main contributor to the growth rate and employs about 30% of the working population.

crop regions

Major export commodities are tobacco and horticulture. Smaller crops such as sugar, tea, coffee, cotton, seeds, maize, and oilseeds are also exported as well as livestock, dairy products, wildlife and poultry meat. Ostrich and game farming have become increasingly important over the last few years. Ostrich meat now complements the export of top quality beef to the the European market.

The major crop growing areas are shown here.

 Tobacco, which has been grown in Zimbabwe for over 100 years has been the country's largest export earner accounting for a third of all foreign currency earnings making Zimbabwe the second most important producer of flue-cured tobacco in the world. Almost 99% of the crop is exported to 69 different countries. Tobacco is sold by auction on the largest tobacco auction floors in the world. The selling season runs from April to October

Cattle rearing is one of the country's foremost economic activities. Zimbabwean livestock is however, under constant threat from the tsetse fly, a carrier of Foot and Mouth disease. This problem is being addressed by a vaccination campaign.

Farm worker showing off a hand of tobacco.

 man holding tobacco

The horticultural sector continues to expand, producing flowers, fruit, vegetables, herbs, spices, essential oils and nuts for export. Zimbabwe's climate and soil types facilitate the production of tropical and temeperate crops as wells as fruits and vegetables whose quality does not require chemical fertilizer.

The cut flower sector accounts for about 57% of the total value of horticultural exports with roses being the single most important product. In addition to fresh produce, Zimbabwe also exports frozen vegetables and fruits. A recent trend has been production in greenhouses, with many growers located near Harare. More investment in air freight capacity is needed to cope with this phenomenal growth.

 

 Production by Volume

('000s)

 Production by Value

(Z$)
Maize

 67.5

 70.1
Wheat

0.7

0.8
Tobacco

209

 3679.2
Cotton

 84.3

 177.3
Groundnuts

 2.7

 71.4
Sunflower

 8.2

 16.3
Coffee

 0.1

 8.2
Sugar

 556

 8.2

Sowing and Harvesting

Sowing and Harvesting times for the major crops

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