Chimanimani district in Zimbabwe is slowly turning into a potato farming hub as most communal farmers in the high rainfall parts of the district have shifted into growing the cash crop that they say has better returns.
Zimbabwe has a well-established history of potato farming, although production levels have been declining mainly due to rising costs of potato seed with statistics recorded in july last year indicating that it cost $12 000 to plant a hectare of potatoes.
However, communal farmers in Chimanimani said despite the high cost of production they chose potato farming as it has higher returns. The farmers said because of the difficulties in importing potato seed from South Africa they are growing small potions but believe with more support, production levels could increase substantially.
“We have good climatic conditions and soils capable of producing high yields here. I am expecting 35 tonnes per hectare. Here in Nhuka farm almost everyone is now focusing on potatoes,” said one farmer.