How and why data should underpin transition from subsistence to commercial agriculture

The majority of African smallholder farmers still produce for household consumption before thinking about the market. Moving from a subsistence to a commercial mind-set will take more than repeating what farmers already know through workshops and training courses.  Gathering and providing data on the amount of commodities produced by each village, community or district as well as how much gets to the market can be a useful starting point in commercializing smallholder agriculture.

In an effort to provide some of the missing evidence in Zimbabwean agriculture, eMKambo continues to track the volume of commodities from farming communities into people’s markets like Mbare in Harare.  The following tables capture what happened within one week (29 June to 4 July 2015). This information is important for farmers, traders, processors, consumers, financiers and policy makers.

Table 1: Avocado pear produce sources


Since what comes to Mbare is just a fraction of the total production in Chimanimani, Chipinge and Honde Valley, there are opportunities for setting up avocado value addition factories in these areas. By moving the bulk of these commodities to urban areas like Harare and Mutare, these districts are moving potential jobs and incomes away from sources of production.

Table 2: Banana produce sources


While banana production has become pretty easy for farmers in many districts, value addition is a missing component.  The volume of bananas from a given community can inform the size of equipment to be bought for processing and potential employment levels.

Table 3: sugar bean sources


Sugar bean production has expanded in most districts around Zimbabwe but what is missing is how else the commodity can be used besides boiling and consuming as relish.

Table 4: Cabbage produce sources


Mhondoro district is becoming a major producer of cabbages than Mutoko and Murewa districts.


Table 5: Carrot produce sources


Table 6: Cow pea produce sources


Although not produced at commercial levels, cow pea is a favourite of many consumers.

Table 7: Cucumber, Garlic, Ginger and Green bean produce sources

mbare market

Garlic, ginger and green beans command significant respect during this time of the year.


Table 8: Ground nut produce sources



Groundnut is now produced in many villages and wards across Zimbabwe.  However, value addition has not gone beyond peanut butter which almost everyone is now producing.  Opportunities to extract oil from groundnuts have not been explored.


Table 9: Masawu and Mawuyu produce sources


There are opportunities to process Masawu and mawuyu fruits into numerous value-added products.




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charles Dhewa

charles Dhewa

Thank you for the up date. In Tawona/Mutema/Bwerudza irrigation scheme we have 500 ha of sugar beans to be read for market in August to September 2015.



Charles Dhewa

Charles Dhewa

Dear Farai,

Apologies for coming back to you late. In which district and province are the irigation schemes located and what prices are you expecting if the sugarbeans consigment is still available.



Lucia Muza

Lucia Muza

Thank You for the data, very valuable. At nico Org o we have Organic enriched Fertilizers, we want to sell to farmer groups. contact 0771960121. Lucia Muza

Charles Dhewa

Charles Dhewa

Dear Lucia,

Thanks for the feedback. Please send us more information on types of crops suitable for your organic fertilizers as well as areas where you think the fertilizers can do well.