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Zimbabwe horticulture companies head for Fruit Logistica

Following a successful learning visit in 2017 to Fruit Logistica in Berlin, Germany, ZimTrade will this year facilitate the participation of Zimbabwean horticultural companies at the annual Expo.

Fruit Logistica, which runs from 7-9 February, is the world’s leading international trade fair for the fruit and vegetable industry. The three-day Event provides a platform for fruit and vegetable producers, buyers, packagers, handling experts and other interested parties from across the globe to meet under one roof.

The organisers reported that over 75,000 trade visitors from over 130 countries attended in 2017. Representatives from 3,077 companies and organisations from 84 countries were also present.

To date, orders worth US$1.3 million have been recorded by the Zimbabwean companies who participated in the 2017 event.

One of the participants in 2017 said that attending Fruit Logistica afforded his company an invaluable opportunity to meet customers and suppliers under one roof as they planned for the sugar snap growing season.

Zimbabwe experienced a rapid growth in the horticulture sector in the mid-1980s which peaked in the 1998/99 season. At its peak, the country exported 59 200 tonnes of fresh produce with earnings of about US$143 million. In 1999, horticulture contributed 4.5% to the country’s GDP second only to tobacco in the agricultural sector.

The EU remains the biggest export market for Zimbabwean horticulture produce, with the sector recording steady growth in exports to that market as shown in the table.

Exports of horticulture produce to the EU 2012-2016

Horticulture exports (US$)
2012 2013 2014 2015 2016
         48,816,000          66,113,000          72,736,000          63,783,000          60,621,000

Source: Trade map

 

Four priority projects to be undertaken by ZimTrade

ZimTrade is pursuing and monitoring four priority projects targeting the completion of objectives by 10 April 2018. These are:

  1. Facilitate capacity building interventions to grow horticulture exports
  2. Facilitate capacity building interventions to grow leather and leather product exports
  3. Improve access to affordable long-term trade finance for exporters
  4. Invigorate the implementation of identified reforms to the Ease of Doing Export

These projects were set in line with the 100 day policy targets being spearheaded by the Office of the President and Cabinet.

ZimTrade is already working with Development Cooperation Partners (DCPs), which include the German Senior Experten Service (SES), PUM of The Netherlands and the Europe-Africa-Caribbean-Pacific Liaison Committee (COLEACP), among others, to improve the capacity and competitiveness of the horticulture and leather sectors.

Various initiatives are being undertaken by ZimTrade to diversify the country’s horticulture markets, and facilitate the participation of companies in this sector at global trade shows, such as Fruit Logistica in Berlin, and the Dubai

ZimTrade is also assisting stakeholders in the leather sector to access expertise to grow their production and export capacity. Leather processors can apply for senior experts from Germany and Netherlands to assist them through technical interventions. According to Trade Map, in 2017 Zimbabwe exported a total of US$32 million worth of leather products. It is expected that, through these interventions, the sector will grow by at least 5% in 2018.

With regard to ease of access to long term affordable finance, ZimTrade is supporting exporters as they apply for loans under a Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe facility being disbursed through selected commercial banks. The facility will initially target pre-and post-shipment finance with the medium to long-term plan of assisting companies in retooling. The finance facility, pegged at 7.5% interest rate, focuses on project viability.

In 2017, ZimTrade, in collaboration with the Ministry of Industry, Commerce and Enterprise Development embarked on the RRI to improve the Ease of Doing Export Business. During this initiative, several reforms to improve the environment for exporters were identified and submitted for adoption. ZimTrade is spearheading the Doing Export Business Implementation Taskforce (DEBIT), which is working with the relevant government ministries to ensure that the agreed reforms are implemented.

ZimTrade encourages current and potential exporters to take advantage of the priority projects to grow their export capacity and expand into new markets.

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