Midlands farmers urged to venture into citrus

Shashe co-operative members pick oranges for processing into orange juice in Beitbridge on Tuesday

BY MTHANDAZO NYONI

MIDLANDS farmers should leverage on favourable climatic conditions in the province and start producing citrus products that could feed into the export value chain for cordials, ZimTrade has said.

In its latest report, ZimTrade said Midlands province was endowed with vast natural resources and favourable climatic conditions conducive for growing horticultural produce for the export market and local industries.

“There is potential in Midlands to increase exports of cotton or textile and chillies, among others. The province can also leverage on its hot districts and produce citrus products that can feed into the export value chain for cordials,” the export promotion body said.

“There is further room to increase exports of value-added cotton and clothing into countries in the region such as Zambia. Further to this, the Midlands province has vast mineral resources and can be developed into a strong industry for export of value-added iron and steel.”

ZimTrade recently engaged the Midlands exporting community in Kwekwe to discuss best approaches to increase their brand visibility on the global market, riding on comparative advantage, product experience, ecological endowments and established infrastructure in the province.

ZimTrade regional office manager Similo Nkala implored exporters in Midlands to consider value-adding before exporting, adding this would ensure that they earn more from their produce.
“There is always a challenge with exporting raw materials because we export jobs and more money at the same time,” he said.

Nkala noted that current trade statistics show that the country’s exports were largely made up of commodities, that is, minerals and unmanufactured tobacco, with value-added exports contributing less than 10% to total exports.

Zimbabwe’s export destinations are limited, hence the urgent need to diversify markets to cushion local businesses from any shocks which may occur in current markets.

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