BY LORRAINE MUROMO
ZIMBABWE is set to enter into a citrus export deal with China as the two countries strengthen their bilateral trade relations, NewsDay has learnt.
The two countries signed the agreement in 2015 as Zimbabwe sought a market for Shashi Citrus smallholder farmers, but China requested post-risk assessment information for the export of fresh citrus fruits from Zimbabwe to China.
In a statement yesterday, Lands and Agriculture minister Anxious Masuka said the export protocol would provide further export markets for local citrus products.
“The trade protocol will cement trade relations between the two nations and will open the door for other products that we were not even exporting, hence will lead to an increase in agricultural contribution to the export basket. For example, Zimbabwe producers have expressed interest in exporting blueberries and avocado pears to China,” he said.
“The trade protocol will broaden the export destinations for Zimbabwe citrus and will remove the over reliance on South African and European markets. The trade protocol will offer Zimbabwe a direct route for our citrus to China and not exporting through South Africa for them to export our citrus as theirs to China.
“Note that China is a huge market and that our current production levels are low. However, the finalisation of the protocol will also provide an impetus towards the conclusion of partnerships and out-grower arrangements with Chinese companies that are eager to export to China.”
He said there was growing demand for citrus fruits in China, which is offering premiums to attract supplies.
The protocol framework, which will be effective for five years, is set to provide technical assistance to Zimbabwe regarding fresh citrus exports to the Chinese market, and will improve local capacity for monitoring and surveillance of citrus plantations for disease control.
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