Horticultural marketing in Zimbabwe: problems met by smallholders and experience of the Mashonaland east fruit and vegetable project in addressing these
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Communal area farmers, although traditional producers of horticultural crops, have failed to participate in the recent boom in horticulture. The horticultural marketing structure in Zimbabwe can be classified into two sectors, a formal sector with an emphasis on quality and grading standards which is market-driven, supplying supermarkets, hotels etc. and an informal sector which is product-driven and markets through the city municipal market, Mbare Musika and then through hawkers and vendors. The export market is effectively a new extension of the formal market and communal farmers who traditionally used the informal marketing chain therefore failed to gain access. The Mashonaland East Fruit and Vegetable project has provided infrastructure and technical support which has allowed small-scale (communal area) farmers entry into the formal marketing systems. The success attained so far is discussed and possibilities of small-scale farmers now growing crops for export considered.