Zim targets US$14bn product and service exports by 2030

Edgar Vhera

Agriculture Specialist Writer

GOVERNMENT and private sector-led initiatives will see the country’s product and service exports grow by 87 percent from US$7,6 billion in 2023 to US$14,2 billion by 2030 with horticulture contributing US$1 billion.

This was said by ZimTrade client advisor, Mrs Vivinah Matswetu, who was speaking on behalf of the organisation’s  chief executive officer, Mr Allan Majuru, at the recent smallholder horticulture conference organised by Zimpapers in Mutoko.

The conference ran under the theme: “Promoting sustainable growth and empowerment in smallholder horticulture – Fostering collaborative partnerships and resilient farming practices to achieve food security and economic prosperity in alignment with Sustainable Development Goal 2 (SDG 2) and National Development Strategy 1 (SDG1).”

“Zimbabwe’s product and service export earnings rose from US$6,2 billion in 2021 to US$7 billion in 2022 and to US$7,6 billion in 2023. The country is targeting to grow its exports to US$14,2 billion by 2030,” she said.

Within the agriculture sector, unmanufactured tobacco exports accounted for 16,5 percent of the country’s total earnings after a 29 percent surge.

The horticulture sector contributed a mere one percent to US$53 million in 2023 marking a drop from the US$61 million earned in 2022.

Government and the Horticultural Development Council (HDC) are targeting a US$1 billion horticulture industry by 2030 premised on a 30 percent annual growth, as outlined in the resolutions from the second edition of the horticulture investment forum held last year.

Mrs Matswetu said the horticulture sector had the capacity to grow given that its products have significant export market opportunities.

“Due to increasing consumer health consciousness, global trends are shifting towards increased demand for superfoods, organic foods, vegetable snacks and convenience foods. The global market demand for citrus products is around US$16,4 billion yet the country is currently exporting oranges, soft citrus, lemons and lime only to Spain, Germany, Poland, France, United Arab Emirates (UAE) and United Kingdom worth US$37,8 million,” she said.

Opportunities abound in the blueberry market where global market demand is around US$5,5 billion with the country currently exporting US$18,3 million to Hong Kong, Netherlands, Singapore, UK, South Africa (SA) and UAE.

ZimTrade statistics show that the country’s avocado exports of US$15 million, a 64 percent increase from the 2021 value, could be expanded to take advantage of the global market demand of US$7, 9 billion. The country exports Hass avocado to Netherlands, France, UK and Germany.

Prospects are also vast in the horticulture sector’s macadamia, mangetout and sugar snap peas, sweet potato, fine beans, passion fruit, flowers and general vegetables.

The International Trade Centre (ITC) Export Potential Map shows that peas have the highest growth potential of 74 percent, followed by cut flowers at 59 percent and avocadoes with 56 percent.

Other crops with export potential are oranges (54 percent), berries (51), macadamia nuts (49), black tea (46) and orange juice unfermented (16).

The country can also reap significant exports if it upscales export of value-added foods such as high-care cut vegetables and fruits whose value normally increases by at least three-fold.

“Setting up of canning, juicing and drying factories will not only lower the levels of post-harvest losses but allow products to be marketed off-season when prices are more favourable,” said Mrs Matswetu.

The country’s products are granted duty-free access to Botswana, Malawi, Mozambique and Namibia markets while it also enjoys the economic partnership agreement (EPA) with UK under the UK-ESA-EPA arrangement.

ZimTrade has developed export clusters with Chitora Irrigation Scheme in Mutoko, directly benefiting 74 farmers who are producing carrots, baby marrow, lettuce and butternut for export to Mozambique.

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