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Zimbabwe’s participation at Fruit Logistica set to increase horticultural exports

To earn more and increase the presence of Zimbabwean produces in the global market, it is critical that farmers, manufacturers and exporters take part in trade promotional events where they can showcase their products

As Zimbabwe intensifies efforts to revive the economy, the agricultural sector is a low hanging fruit with potential to earn the much-needed foreign currency through export of quality horticultural produces. Apart from supporting the country’s manufacturing sector, there is high potential for the local farmers to export fresh produce to countries in the region and across the world. These exports can be easily sustained by a highly productive agricultural sector, driven by favourable climatic conditions the country is endowed with. With regards to market penetration, Zimbabwe has a reputation for being a source of quality horticultural produces. In fact, there is a general appreciation in countries like Netherlands where buyers say Zimbabwean fresh produce such as blueberries taste better compared to other countries. So how can we as a Nation drive export of horticultural produces? To earn more and increase the presence of Zimbabwean produces in the global market, it is critical that farmers, manufacturers and exporters take part in trade promotional events where they can showcase their products. To this end, ZimTrade – the national trade development and promotion organisation – is focusing on in-market promotion of local produce by increasing participation of local businesses in promotional events in taking place in targeted markets around the world. Currently, ZimTrade is facilitating the participation of 10 Zimbabwean horticultural companies at this year’s edition of Fruit Logistica taking place in Berlin, Germany from 5-7 February. Fruit Logistica is the world’s leading international trade fair for the fruit and vegetable industry and this will be the 3rd time that Zimbabwe will be taking part at the expo, having undertaken market visits to the expo in 2017 and 2018. From previous market visits, orders worth more than US$10 million have been recorded by the Zimbabwean companies who participated at the expo. The success of the visits and business generated at the previous events indicated in better prospects if Zimbabwe is to set up a pavilion at the expo. Fruit Logistica will provide a platform for Zimbabwean businesses in fruit and vegetables to meet potential buyers, packagers, handling experts and other interested parties from across the globe. With over 75,000 trade visitors an around 3,000 companies expected to participate at the event, indications are that Zimbabwean businesses taking part in the event will have an
opportunity to interact with buyers, engage in business-to-business meetings and create new avenues for their products. What this means is that Zimbabwe will have an opportunity to share what can be offered to the global market. Traditionally, exports of horticultural produces have been dominated by flowers and citrus, with the leading destination being the European Union. However, in the quest of diversifying range of export products to different markets of the world, Zimbabwe is seeking to take advantage of Fruit Logistica to push produces such as mange tout and sugar snap peas, pineapples, sweet potatoes, avocadoes, macadamia nuts, mangoes, baby corn, blueberries and chilies. Of these, products such as avocados offers viable solutions for local exporters who are looking at increasing their export values. With a global market worth more than US$6 billion in 2018 according to Trade Map, there is room to increase the country’s exports, considering that Zimbabwe produces the Hass variety, which tops the popular chat of avocados consumed worldwide. There is a ready market for Zimbabwean avocados as current global avocado production capacity cannot meet growing demand as new Asian markets such as Japan and China have significantly increased consumption of the same. The Zimbabwe-grown pineapple, that will be on display at Fruit Logistica is also expected to contribute to growth of export earnings from horticultural produces. According to Trade Map, global exports of pineapples have been growing gradually every year, with US$2.7 billion recorded in 2018, up from US$2.3 billion in 2015. Netherlands, which is the second largest importer of pineapples, following United States of America, is already the largest importer of horticultural produces from Zimbabwe. This means that if local farmers increase production, their produces will not have a difficult time finding a market in Netherlands as they will ride on existing products performing well in the market. Further to this, Zimbabwe enjoys favourable access to the Netherlands under the interim economic partnership agreement with the European Union where products from Zimbabwe can enter duty-free or quota-free. Although production of pineapples from Chipinge and Chimanimani was dampened following the devastating Cyclone Idai last year, there are indications that farming is regaining pace and most small-holder farmers in the area will be ready to export soon.
As most of pineapples from Chipinge and Chimanimani are organic, they will earn more for farmers as organic produces are premium priced on the global market. The rising global taste for organic produces is expected to drive exports of pineapples from Zimbabwe. As with the rest of horticultural produces, established and new farmers, with support from ZimTrade, Netherlands-based PUM and SES of Germany, are learning the latest trends in horticulture that will strengthen the competitiveness of horticultural produces. Macadamia nuts is another produces that is targeted at growing exports after Fruti Logistica. Although the global export market for macadamia was worth US$843 million in 2018, according to Trade Map, the growing demand indicate that the value will soon spill into billions. For Zimbabwe, where conditions such as abundant land can support massive production, there is potential for local producers to increase the current low value and claim a significant piece of the global market. This is the same with other products that will be on display at Fruit Logistica, where the major focus will be growing Zimbabwe’s exports and market the country as a prime source of quality produces.

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