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ZimTrade Targets International Markets For Horticultural Products

ZimTrade, the national trade development and promotion agency, says horticultural produce can be key in unlocking new international markets for the country thereby increasing export earnings.

Speaking to 263Chat during a recent outward mission for 24 local companies to the DRC, in Lubumbashi, ZimTrade Chief Executive, Allan Majuru said there is demand for horticultural produce outside Zimbabwe and local producers need to be awake to take advantage of the existing potential.

“Zimbabwe can take advantage of this positive trend by harnessing the potential of low-hanging sectors such as the horticulture sector, to increase exports.

“The horticulture sector is also among the top four foreign currency earners as well. Opportunities that arise in this sector include the high demand for highly nutritious products, superfoods, which came as a result of the global pandemic,” Majuru said.

The companies which were being been facilitated for the outward mission which ended yesterday are from various sectors including, companies in the manufacturing and supply of Fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) products, horticulture products, workwear, building and construction materials, industrial, mining machinery, and equipment, among other products.

With the advent of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) the national trade organization is focusing on maximizing opportunities for local companies by exposing them to potential markets within the continent.

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“Local producers can take advantage of these demands to increase exports. Many market opportunities have also risen in the horticultural sector. Markets like the UK already enjoy a lot of local produce such as blueberries and provide an export opportunity for local producers.

“Additionally, with the signing of the ESA EPA, local producers can get to enjoy tariff and quota-free access when exporting to the UK.  Over the years, the trade structure was skewed in favor of commodities, therefore there is a need to increase exports to support other sectors and products which have potential in the UK,” Majuru said.

He further stated that there is a need for the country to increase exports of value-added goods as they offer better profit margins for local producers and help earn more foreign currency for the country.

He noted that companies need to be capacitated to enable them to produce competitive products which meet the international appeal.

“Currently, the country mostly exports raw material products that have fewer returns, however, if industry receives the right capacitation and capital injection, could result in products being more competitive on the market and exports increasing,” Majuru stated.

After a Market Survey conducted in Lubumbashi in October 2016 which culminated in participation at the DRC Mining Week 2018 and 2019 editions, many opportunities were identified for local companies.

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The participation of local companies at the DRC Mining Week and a B2B Webinar on the DRC market opportunities in September 2020, gained total orders amounting to over US$5 million.

Additionally, the participation of local companies in the DRC mining week saw some buyers in the DRC mining sector indicating an appetite for Zimbabwe-produced mining supplies such as protective clothing.

Other sectors in which buyers indicated interest include sectors such as FMCG, agriculture inputs and implements as well as agriculture products.

This response coupled with the opportunities in DRC resulted in the need to facilitate local companies in an outward mission to meet with buyers directly and establish viable supply chains that will increase trade between the two countries.

To further assist local companies to penetrate the DRC market, the Trade Mission will be followed by the participation of fifteen companies at this year’s edition of the DRC Mining Week trade expo.

At the Mining Week event, participating companies will have an opportunity to participate in a business conference, engage in scheduled B2B meetings and operational site visits to some of the largest mines in the Katanga province.

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