By Alex Mutandi
The demand for Zimbabwean products in the rest of Southern Africa continue to grow, thanks to efforts by ZimTrade to create linkages between local exporters and buyers in regional markets.
Following the success of the Outward Trade Mission in Lubumbashi and Kolwezi, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) held in May 2023 – where ZimTrade took fifteen companies to promote their products and services –a lot of interest was generated for diversified Zimbabwean products.
In particular was demand for agriculture inputs and implements as the Congolese are now focusing on growing their agricultural base to diversify their economy from the mining sector.
As a follow-up, a business delegation from Likasi and Lubumbashi, DRC, came to the SeedCo field day towards the end of May 2023 to network with the Zimbabwe farmers and identify reliable suppliers of agricultural inputs, chemicals and implements.
It is worthy nothing that DRC is emerging as a lucrative market for agricultural inputs and implements on the continent.
With a population of over eighty million people, the Democratic Republic of Congo has a high demand for food products, including grains, fruits, vegetables, and livestock.
However, due to various challenges, including limited agricultural infrastructure, DRC has been unable to meet its domestic demand.
As a result, the buyers and leading distributors in DRC are increasingly looking to neighboring countries like Zimbabwe to fulfill their agricultural needs.
One of the main reasons for the huge interest of Zimbabwe’s products is because of Zimbabwe’s long-standing reputation for producing high quality agricultural products.
The country’s fertile soils, favorable climate, and skilled farmers contribute to the production of a wide range of crops and livestock.
Zimbabwean products, such as maize, tobacco, citrus fruits, beef, and dairy products, are highly sought after for their quality and taste.
Buyers and distributors in DRC recognize the value of Zimbabwean agricultural products and are eager to establish trade partnerships to meet their market demands.
To assist the Zimbabwe companies to tap into DRC, ZimTrade in partnership with Zimbabwe Agricultural Society (ZAS) are organizing the Zimbabwe-DRC Business Forum to be held on the sidelines of this year’s edition of the the Zimbabwe Agricultural Show.
The forum, to be held on 29 August 2023 in the Andy Miller Hall, will consist of a trade and investment conference, scheduled business to business meetings and company visits.
The trade and investment conference will be addressed by the DRC Provincial Governors for Haut-Katanga, Haut-Lomami, Lualaba, as well as president of FEC, DRC’s private sector federation.
At least twenty Congolese business delegation in the agri-business sector have confirmed their participation at the Business Forum.
The forum will draw interest of Zimbabwean companies that supply agricultural inputs, chemicals and implements.
Also targeted for the forum are farmers interested in setting up operations in the DRC, who will be provided with an opportunity to understand the vast investment opportunities in the sector.
The influx of the DRC buyers at the Zimbabwe Agricultural Show presents significant trade opportunities for both countries.
Zimbabwean farmers and agribusinesses can expand their customer base and increase their export volumes, leading to improved profitability and economic growth.
On the other hand, the DRC buyers and distributors can access a stable and reliable source of agricultural products, reducing their dependence on imports from distant countries.
This mutually beneficial trade relationship has the potential to boost the agricultural sectors of both countries and contribute to regional food security.
Zimbabwe and the Democratic Republic of Congo are members of SADC and COMESA regional economic blocs, meaning that local exporters registered under trading agreements and awarded originating status under either or both blocs can export duty-free and quota-free from Zimbabwe to Democratic Republic of Congo and vice versa.
To fully harness the potential of this trade partnership, both Zimbabwe and Democratic Republic of Congo continuously work toward streamlining trade procedures and fostering a conducive business environment.