Enacy Mapakame Business Reporter—
CHINESE company, China Industrial International Group Zimbabwe says it intends to invest $10 million towards horticulture production, with the group yesterday exporting a sample of local flowers to the Asian country.The planned investment will go towards supporting farmers with fertilisers, seeds and other inputs required in horticulture production.
Group chief executive Mr Nie Yang yesterday told The Herald Business that Zimbabwean horticulture products, especially flowers, had a ready market in China on the strength of their high quality.
In line with this, CIIG was targeting to export flowers worth half a million dollars every month, while the capital injection would capacitate farmers to ensure they meet demand from the Chinese market.
“If capacity is not enough, we will make an injection to capacitate farmers in Zimbabwe. We will start with the small farmers because the large scale farmers are already capacitated,” said Mr Yang in an interview.
“We have submitted proposals for investment projects worth around $10 million to ZIA (Zimbabwe Investment Authority),” he said.
The flower export programme will further cement growing economic relations between Zimbabwe and China while enhancing the country’s export growth, an initiative the country is pushing to reduce its trade deficit.
Mr Yang indicated that in terms of producers of flowers, particularly roses, Zimbabwe’s ranked among the top quality.
“Zimbabwe has many varieties of flowers and they are of good quality, but so far they need to change the packaging.
“There are too many types of flowers here in Zimbabwe but so far we want to start with roses and we will send other flowers for the Chinese New Year and 14 February,” he said.
According to Finance Minister Patrick Chinamasa’s Mid Year Fiscal Policy Statement, horticulture used to be a major sub-sector with quick export returns of about $143 million at its peak in 1999/2000.
The sector has been on a steady rebound since 2010 pushed by vegetables and flowers. The country used to be one of the biggest exporters to Europe.
In 2001, for instance, Zimbabwe was ranked second largest exporter of horticulture products in Africa, after Kenya and was the fifth biggest exporter into Europe.