Citrus producers in the southern part of Zimbabwe have asked policymakers and authorities to fast track the implementation of export measures. Their main focus is on removing non-tariff trade barriers. Farmers in Beitbridge revealed this during a visit conducted by ZimTrade, the country’s export promotion body.
Five farms were visited where the harvesting season was in full swing, giving the ZimTrade team an opportunity to observe the grading and packing processes for both the local and export markets.
Key findings included the need for policy support for citrus producers, especially in terms of negotiating for trade protocols with key target markets to allow Zimbabwean producers to compete with increased production from countries such as Morocco, Egypt, and some South American countries.
Research on global citrus exports indicates that citrus growers worldwide rely heavily on government-to-government agreements that allow producers to push higher volumes at lower tariffs, especially in high potential markets such as China and India.
The factor ‘delays at the borders’ was also identified as affecting citrus exports. Stressing this point, one farmer highlighted that they pay on average R8,000 more for transportation than farmers just across the river in Limpopo Province, South Africa.
Addressing this issue at the 2018 ZimTrade Annual Exporters’ Conference in October, ZimTrade chief executive officer, Allan Majuru, implored policymakers and authorities to fast track the implementation of measures that foster export growth.
Radiovop.com mentioned the statistics from the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe, Zimbabwe’s citrus exports in 2017 amounted to US$52,3 million mostly destined for European markets, the Middle East, Canada and Hong Kong. This is against a global citrus import bill of more than US$15 billion annually. The World Bank still classifies Zimbabwe as a low-income economy.