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The month of May is significant in Zimbabwean agriculture for two main reasons. First of all, May marks the beginning of winter. Secondly, by May, most field crops are off the land and now at home. Farmers will now be busy counting their costs and thinking about diversifying into other agribusiness activities. Mbare Agriculture Market (Harare), Malaleni (Bulawayo), Kudzanayi (Gweru), Sakubva (Mutare), Njanji (Masvingo) and other markets proved to be a yardstick in May this year through the way which the country’s agriculture potential can be measured.

While crop forecasting by the Ministry of Agriculture, Mechanisation and Irrigation Development highlights potential national yield when commodities are still on the land, eMkambo gathers intelligence on surplus produce that actually reaches the market.

As revealed by the analysis below, almost every district in Zimbabwe has champions who sell commodities to the market.

Organisations which use labels like “poor people” and “vulnerable households” to describe rural communities should start crafting development models that take into account the efforts of commercially — minded local champions who always strive to put their districts on the map.

There is always a champion in every district, no matter how “poor” a district or community is labelled.

The development sector needs a new evidence-based world view on the meaning of development and sustainability.

Policy makers should devote resources to local market development where the country’s resilience is well expressed.

Although local knowledge is being contaminated by various forms of knowledge spill-overs, ordinary people people’s capacity to mobilise solutions stands tall in Zimbabwe.

We need creative bridges between NGOs working in agriculture, farmer organisations, development agencies, the private sector, consumers and policy makers.

The market provides the only space where a collaborative conversation can take place in the interest of building Zimbabwean agriculture.

District performance at Mbare farmers market

From data gathered by eMkambo, an Estimated Revenue of US$3 015 168 25,40 exchanged hands between farmers and agric-produce consumers in the Mbare agriculture market. This is an increase of 46,1 percent from May 2013.

The income was generated from 49 produce types sold in the market from various farming areas and districts around Zimbabwe.

Source : The Herald