Commercial Farmers' Union of Zimbabwe

Commercial Farmers' Union of Zimbabwe

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Arda drives pecan nut growing in Mat’land

Arda drives pecan nut growing in Mat’land


Mr Basil Nyabadza

Mr Basil Nyabadza

Prosper Ndlovu, Business Editor
FARMERS in Matabeleland region could generate huge foreign currency earnings through pecan nut growing with a single tree being able to give farmers proceeds of up to $150 per year.

The Agricultural and Rural Development Authority (Arda) is spearheading the growing of the crop in the region given its favourable weather conditions and export potential.

Arda board chair, Mr Basil Nyabadza told delegates during the Matabeleland South Investment Conference in Gwanda this week that a comprehensive programme would soon be launched in the region to entice farmers to embrace the initiative.

“There is one particular plant that is unique and should be launched in this province in particular. It has been grown for a number of years but most of us were not aware. That is the production of pecan nuts.

“A pecan nut tree takes five years to grow and start bearing fruits but when it does can take up to 100 years. In other words it’s a generational tree. This crop is virtually 95 percent exports,” said Mr Nyabadza.

“Foreign currency is to be earned by villagers and not be a preserve of the Reserve Bank. You don’t grow tobacco in this region and that’s your tobacco. Tobacco auction floors are opening and 12.5 percent incentive will be given to farmers as bonus for earning foreign currency. There will be inflows of forex into the country.

“I want you to take pecan nuts in this part of the country. We will be launching a programme between July and August this year when temperatures are cool. I encourage you to do pecans in this part of the country.”

Mr Nyabadza made reference to prominent businessman, Mr Jim Ross Goddard, who has successfully piloted pecan nut growing in the Shangani area of Insiza North District in Matabeleland South.

“In Shangani, Mr Goddard grows pecans. We visited his farm and he has plus or minus 100 trees,” he said.

Speaking at the same gathering, Mr Goddard concurred with Mr Nyabadza and encouraged farmers in the region to quickly adopt pecan nut farming and enjoy profits.

“Mr Nyabadza is 100 percent correct. Pecan trees are the tobacco for Matabeleland. There is a potential from a single pecan tree to produce at 5-7 years. It can produce between $100 to $150 per tree, per year in profit and it’s a big number,” he said.

“This is not difficult for an indigenous farmer to grow with little mechanisation. $150 per year by 100 trees is $12 500 per year and that’s just over a $1000 a month and it’s not hard work.

“Trees just need water and fertiliser and being looked after. I know the abilities of indigenous farmers in Matabeleland South and it’s something we can do.

Pecan trees are something that anybody with a piece of land and access to water can do, it’s something that we can really look into.”

The pecan-nut tree is well adapted to subtropical areas and grows well in areas with short, cold winters and long, very hot summers. Experts say low temperatures and even frost during June to August are required for successful budding and flower formation. During the summer months (October to April) the tree requires high temperatures for fruit growth. Trees are successfully established in valleys and along rivers where the winter temperature is low and frost occurs.


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