Farmers urged to form export consortium

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LOCAL farmers should consider forming an agriculture export market consortium to enable them to penetrate foreign markets and improve their incomes, ZimTrade Bulawayo regional manager Similo Nkala has said.

BY OWN CORRESPONDENT

Nkala said the formation of a farmer export market would help create synergies with the international market, adding that local farmers should participate in regional and international trade fairs to enable the country’s agriculture sector to recover.

“Major export commodities are tobacco, cotton and horticulture and farmers should be targeting agricultural marketing boards in export markets,” Nkala said.

“Value chains, if effectively implemented, the country’s production will increase and in turn, there will be an increase in the exports of value added products which fetch higher prices on the export markets as compared to unprocessed produce.”

Nkala said farmers should also consider joining TradeMap Zimbabwe an online database of global trade flows and trade barriers which would go a long way in helping them to penetrate new export markets.

The world’s largest database of trade statistics, COMTRADE, provides detailed export and import profiles and trends for over 5 300 products in over 200 countries with specific values and quantities, growth rates, market share and market access information which Nkala said was critical for local farmers to join if they were to market their produce effectively.

He said trade maps helped farmers to search for new markets, assess competition or diversify sources, benchmark national, regional trade performance, set priority products for trade promotion and development, evaluate tariffs and trade barriers and assess product diversification.

Farmer organisations in the country have also been pressuring government to finalise setting up an agriculture commodity exchange by April this year to market of agriculture produce effectively.

In an interview with our sister paper Southern Eye Business yesterday, Zimbabwe Commercial Farmers’ Union president Wonder Chabikwa said farmer organisations had joined rank and were lobbying government to finalise the setting up of the commodity exchange.

He added the exchange would correct the unfair pricing system currently on the market and disadvantaging farmers.

“Farmers are selling their produce for a song and government has for long, been making empty promises regarding setting up a commodity exchange to correct the anomaly,” Chabikwa said.

“We are pressuring government to, by April this year, set up the facility.”

A commodity exchange is a market where buyers and sellers trade commodity-linked contracts on the basis of procedures laid down by the exchange.

Chapikwa said it would ensure the selling of agriculture produce at international prices.

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