Diversification is key to grow exports from Masvingo province

Diversification is key to grow exports from Masvingo province

The future of Zimbabwe’s development is clear. No one and no place will be left behind.

This focus on this inclusive approach to national economic development has seen President E. D. Mnangagwa’s Government putting emphasis on the devolution agenda, stating that it presents better prospects for the nation.  

Here, all districts and provinces have been identified as having a crucial role to play towards achieving the nation’s targets of an upper-middle income economy by 2030, characterised by improved livelihoods for all.

However, among other factors, the success of the devolution agenda also depends on the ability of all Province to tap into areas they enjoy comparative advantage, particularly on areas of foreign currency generation.

The first step is identifying those low hanging fruits for each Province, that could be used to support initial development of export products.

As part of the identification process, ZimTrade – the national trade development and promotion organisation – conducted a survey of Masvingo to identify products with export potential and key strategies to upscale exports from the Province.

The results indicated that sectors such as agriculture, manufacturing, and arts and crafts will offer quick wins for Masvingo as they are already performing on the export front.

From quick wins, data indicate that Masvingo province has potential to export around US$386 million per year.

To attain that figure, there is need to capacitate businesses, as well as consider diversification so that the Province increase its export streams.

Chiredzi District  

Four main activities drive the economy of Chiredzi, i.e., agriculture, tourism, mining, and manufacturing.

Already, Chiredzi district is the largest producer of processed sugar in Zimbabwe, which has ready markets in African countries such as Kenya, Botswana, and Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

As more land is already being prepared for increased sugarcane production, Chiredzi presents an opportunity to grow exports of processed sugar.

Considering that at one time, Zimbabwe exported to European Union – where the country had a quota of more than 200,000 metric tons of sugar per year – the same or even more can be achieved.

Chiredzi is also seeing an increase in communal farmers moving towards commercial farming, focusing on crops such as cotton, small grains, and horticultural produce.

These crops present diversification options for Chiredzi district.

With support, Chiredzi district can be grown into an export hub of agro-produce other than sugar, as small grains and other crops that do well in hot weather can be developed around the district.

Cattle rearing is also an economic activity that can be developed into a viable export industry, supplying meat and meat products to regional markets such as DRC, and Angola.

Value-chain development approach will also see a viable leather industry in Chiredzi, with capacity to export processed leather, and manufactured leather products such as shoes, belts, bags, and jackets across the world.

Chiredzi is one of the rainbow districts with diverse critical cultural heritages like the Shangani community.

Commercializing the entire arts and crafts sector, riding on the rich historical background, culture, and traditions in Chiredzi should also lead to a growth in exports from the sector.

Gutu district

Agriculture sector supports livelihoods in Gutu district and is a low hanging fruit for export development.

Farmers currently produce maize, and small grains such as sorghum, finger millet and pearl millet.

Production of sweet potatoes, groundnuts, sugar beans and cow peas has also been growing, with other farmers venturing into fruit tree production such as citrus.

Addressing challenges faced by farmers who are into livestock production will also restore the animal population in Gutu, which will help develop capacities for the district to produce meat and meat products for regional and international markets.

Already, markets such as Dubai are eyeing for Zimbabwe-grown goats and developing capacities of farmers in Gutu district will help unlock access to that market.

Masvingo district

Masvingo district has huge potential in processed foods and beverages sector focusing on beef and beverages, leather and leather sector as well as the engineering sector.

As with other districts in the province, farmers in Masvingo produce products such as maize, cotton, groundnuts, rapoko, sorghum tobacco, sugar beans and wheat.

In terms of horticulture, tomatoes, cabbages, and potatoes are mainly grown in the district.

Livestock farmers specialize in poultry (broilers, layers), cattle, pigs, sheep, and goats.

Although these have export potential, considering plantations will help spread foreign currency generation streams for Masvingo district.

There are farmers who are growing trees such as mangos, and avocados for export markets and if capacitated, these could diversify export products from the district.

Further on agriculture, there is an opportunity for farmers to consider cannabis, which is a great foreign currency earner if the projects are to be done properly.

Arts and crafts is also vibrant in Masvingo district.

The sector mainly produces fine arts such as stone animals, iron wood products and beadwork.

Some of these products are already being exported to European markets such as Netherlands, and countries in the region such as South Africa, Namibia, Zambia, and Malawi.

The strong tourism sector around Great Zimbabwe makes Masvingo district the hub for exports of arts and crafts, riding on potential international buyers who visit the heritage site for leisure and holidays.

Ideally, establishing an arts and crafts cluster and centres of excellence in and around Masvingo district will improve on quality and standards, as well as make it easy for artists to consolidate their products.

Zaka and Bikita districts

The two districts are mainly driven by agriculture as the major economic activity and products with export potential include sweet potatoes, carrots, peas, ground nuts, onions, and watermelons.

Gum tree plantations and fruit trees such as guavas, fibreless mangos, oranges, avocados and nartjies are common in the districts and these can be developed for export markets.

Processing fruits into cordials, as well as developing a modern canning industry in Zaka and Bikita districts will also help harness potential in trees.

Farmers in the two districts are also into livestock production of cattle, goats, sheep, and poultry and these also have export potential.

Chivi district

Chivi district is home to one of the largest dams in the country (Tugwi Mukosi), making agriculture the quickest win for export development.

Other than the crops that are prevalent in Masvingo province, there is room for development of a fish and crocodile industry around the dam.

Further to this, there is room for Chivi district to focus on niche products, riding on available natural resources.

Indigenous fruits and trees such as marula nuts, mufandichimuka (resurrection) tea, makwakwa and other wild fruits can be value-added into high-end and niche products, including beverages and oils, for international markets such as Europe.

Arts and crafts is another key sector in the district and the district produces sculptures such as soft stone, mates and sculptures including fine art, which includes animals such as rhinos and lions’ abstracts.

Mwenezi district

Mwenezi district is emerging as a giant producer of marula (mupfure) products.

Following the launch of the marula processing plant in the district, local communities are already reaping benefits through employment and selling Marula/Mapfura fruit to the company.

There is room for the plant to be an export hub of marula products in Zimbabwe.

Increasing value-addition of marula fruits will allow communities in Mwenezi to tap into the lucrative global market of essential oils (whether or not terpeneless), whose import value in 2021 was around US$5,82 billion, according to Trade Map.

Further to this, livestock farming is common in the district with most are engaged in cattle fattening, goat, pig, poultry, and sheep rearing.

Capacitating such farmers will also help grow exports of meat and meat products in the district.



188 Sam Nujoma Street Avondale Harare, Zimbabwe

Tel: 263-4 369330-41, 263-867700074

E-mail: info@zimtrade.co.zw


48 Josiah Tongogara Street Btwn 3rd and 4th Avenue Bulawayo, Zimbabwe

Tel: 263-9 66151, 62378, 263-8677000378

E-mail: info@zimtrade.co.zw

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