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– Herald

A virtual conference last week, dubbed Macfruit Agribusiness Forum for Zimbabwe, highlighted business opportunities in the fresh produce sector and mobilised Zimbabwean firms to exhibit at Macfruit 2021.

Being the largest global trade fair for the fruit and vegetable industry, it draws its participants from leading markets across the world. The fair can unlock potential for Zimbabwe’s agro-based economy.

Zimbabwe’s premier trade promotion body ZimTrade chief executive Allan Majuru, said there currently is a drive to grow exports from the horticulture sector as well as diversifying output and markets.

“The event taking place in September therefore provides an opportunity for Zimbabwean exporters to expand their network of business contacts and enter new markets, particularly Italy,”

Mr Majuru said.

He said participating firms will also link up with suppliers, some of which participated in the virtual agribusiness forum, of raw materials and other machinery necessary to grow their operations.

Last week’s agribusiness virtual forum was organised by the Zimbabwe-Italy Friendship Association with support from ZimTrade and the Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries (CZI).

The association seeks to promote trade and economic cooperation between the two countries.

According to Trade Map, Italy imported US$109 million worth of goods from Zimbabwe in 2019.

The bulk of the goods included iron and steel, earths, raw hides and skins. On the other hand, Zimbabwe imported US$15 million worth of goods from Italy, the bulk of the goods were machinery.

“Macfruit 2021 will provide opportunities to strengthen bilateral trade between Zimbabwe and Italy and grow the country’s exports through direct market access for local farmers,”

Mr Majuru said.

The ZimTrade is on record saying horticulture has potential to contribute to the transformation of the domestic economy given the high demand for fresh produce from the Southern African country.

The horticulture industry is one of the sectors with the highest potential to generate the much needed foreign currency.

The country’s horticulture produce includes citrus fruits, flowers, peas, berries and macadamia.

Following the highly successful land reform programme, Government is now targeting to improve production on farms and already farmers have shown vast improvements in the growing of tobacco and maize among others.

However, with assistance from ZimTrade, there are a number of farmers that are now targeting to grow a variety of horticultural products for the export market. The Italian expo is likely to provide the opportunities that the farmers have been looking for.

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