As global markets went to “sleep” because of lockdown measures to curb the spread of Covid-19 early this year, demand for some horticultural produce fell drastically.
Hotels, resort centres and catering services, which had been the largest consumers of imported horticultural produce, reduced purchases, leaving many producers with nowhere to sell.
In Europe, most buyers cancelled orders as domestic supplies could meet local demand in those countries. Covid-19 grounded deliveries and shipments across the world, resulting in huge losses for some farmers.
Agence France-Presse reported in March that farmers in the Netherlands destroyed millions of flowers a day, in unprecedented scenes as Covid-19 cut demand. However, over the past few weeks, most European Union (EU) countries have started to ease restrictions.
This has seen a resurgence of tourism activities, which is expected to see a boom in imports of horticultural produce in most European countries. According to Re-open EU, a web platform that contains essential information allowing a safe relaunch of free movement and tourism across Europe, tourists from EU or Schengen countries can enter the Netherlands, provided they have valid travel reservations such as holiday accommodation.
The increase in tourism activities is expected to boost consumption, which in turn will increase imports of horticultural produce, whose consumption had dropped in the first quarter of the year.
One of the sectors set to benefit from increased demand in international markets is floriculture, which can increase Zimbabwe’s exports if farmers tap into the international markets with better tourism activities.