GREEN vegetable shortage has hit the Bulawayo market following heavy rains that pounded the Matabeleland region last month, according to a major supplier of the cash crop.
The main green vegetable suppliers in Matabeleland are Umguza, Matopo, Umzingwane, Esigodini and Figtree.
However, a survey conducted by Southern Eye Business last week revealed that markets like the Basch Street terminus, popularly known as Egodini, where vegetable vendors usually sell green vegetables, hardly had anyone selling the crop.
The situation was the same at the Bulawayo vegetable market along Fifth Avenue.
Prices of the few green vegetables available had doubled to $1 as available vendors took advantage of the shortage to maximise on profit.
Vegetable dealers said green vegetables were very hard to get in Bulawayo because of the high demand.
“Our suppliers in Matopo said their green vegetables were affected by the heavy rains which fell last month,” a vegetable dealer said.
The district agricultural extension officer for Umguza district, Shalene Mabharani, said most green vegetables, especially chomoulia, were affected by diamond black cabbage moth, a pest that affects green vegetable and cabbage leaves.
“During the rainy season some crops, especially green vegetables and cabbage, are usually affected by diamond black cabbage moth,” Mabharani said.
Umguza Agricultural Society chairperson, Shadreck Mabote said farmers reduced their green vegetable hectarage for maize crop.
Women Farmers’ Association national chairperson Judith Maphosa said some growers had planted green vegetables in waterlogged areas resulting in them being affected by the heavy rains.
Zimbabwe banned imports of fresh fruit and vegetables in April 2014 arguing that increased local production could meet domestic demand.
The ban mostly impacted supplies of tomatoes, potatoes, mangoes, grapes and apples from neighbouring South Africa.
South African fruit and vegetable exports to Zimbabwe are worth at least $1 million a month, according to trade data.
Zimbabwe’s farming output, including its staple maize crop, has slumped by over 60% since 2000, following seizures of white-owned farms by the government’s chaotic land reform programme.