Zim's Horticulture Promotion Council urgenty, sadly needs promoting itself

Jun 12, 2011

What has become of Zimbabwe's once-flourishing, sophisticated horticulture industry makes sad reading. The decline of this sector is no surprise to anyone who has kept up with the last decade's decline of the rest of the country's farming. But just as discouraging is how low-profile and un-proactive is the Horticulture Promotion Council, the body that is supposed to be an advocate for the sector.

 In an article in The Herald, these are some of the details given by the HPC's chief executive about the state of the industry his organisation exists to promote:  

"Last year we exported seven million kilogrammes of flowers, down from the traditional 24 million kilogrammes per year in good years."

"In the past we used to have 400ha under horticulture, now it is less than 150ha. We are currently operating at 30 percent of our full potential. The most painful fact is that we have very good growing conditions and highly skilled personnel."

"Horticultural earnings now contribute between 1,5 and 2 percent to the country's GDP, down from a high of 5 percent in the recent past."

There is more, but this is enough to give an idea of in just how bad a shape this specialized sector of agriculture is in. The HPC is not involved in farming itself, nor could it have prevented the cascade of political decisions and events that brought horticulture and agriculture in general so low.

Yet the HPC must bear full blame for not having a website! Regardless of how poor a shape the industry is in, it is unfathomable and inexcusable in 2011 that a body with the word 'promotion' in its name does not have a website!

How can it 'promote' horticulture without a website? Apart from not having one, it is surprisingly difficult to find any current information about the HPC, including news of its activities (if any) and its phone number!

The fact that things are so difficult in Zimbabwe is precisely one of the reasons the HPC should have a website. It can be a very effective and low cost way of reaching potential markets and investors, and for them to make inquiries about the industry.

It is a serious knock to the credibility of the HPC that they do not have a presence on the web, almost regardless of what the reason is. Apart from the many other structural problems the industry is battling with, the industry seems to also suffer from the lack of an innovative, aggressively can-do 'promoter' that the HPC should be.          

The Zimbabwe Review


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