Zimbabwean government officials say plans are underway to export citrus fruits to China, following the 2021 Citrus Phytosanitary Protocol signed between the two nations. The protocol was signed in January this year, and for Zimbabwe, it was part of efforts to move away from over-reliance on the South African and European markets.
The Phytosanitary Protocol entails putting in place a cold chain system for fresh citrus fruits exports to China, similar to the one between Zimbabwe and the European Union to manage fruit pests that include the False Codling Moth, which feeds on a wide range of crops from cotton and macadamia nuts to citrus species.
Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services minister Monica Mutsvangwa said there was huge potential to boost trade between Zimbabwe and the Asian country: “The number of Chinese business people visiting Zimbabwe to explore business opportunities has been increasing. But of late, the numbers have decreased due to travel restrictions triggered by the COVID-19 global pandemic.”
“Zimbabwe and China signed a protocol in 2021 to facilitate export of Zimbabwe citrus fruit products to China. Processes are also underway to facilitate other agricultural products to China. There is great scope to increase these trade figures if the trade potential and market access opportunities between our two countries are fully tapped. Zimbabwe flowers have now found a market in China and the demand is growing.”
The Asian country has also agreed to provide technical assistance to Zimbabwe regarding fresh citrus exports to the Chinese market.