Story by Stanley James, Business Editor
ZIMBABWE can now export beef to the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) after the Agricultural Marketing Authority (AMA) finalised an agreement for the sale of over 30 tonnes of the commodity per month to the regional market.
The arrangement is being made after a trade mission of Zimbabwe’s industry to the DRC in July this year realised a huge market base for beef products.
The Agricultural Marketing Authority (AMA), as the lead negotiator, made a follow-up visit earlier this month where relevant paperwork was concluded, paving the way for beef exports to the DRC.
“In July we had a trade mission consisting of AMA, ZimTrade and a few selected livestock farmers who went to DRC to understand the market requirements in Kinshasa. Following the visit, we established that there is demand for our beef in DRC. We are looking at requirements of 30 tonnes per month to start with for selected beef products, so, we are now working on the modalities with our embassy in DRC to ensure that our farmers can export to the DRC,” said AMA chief executive officer, Mr Clever Isaya.
AMA, as a state-owned entity with the mandate of identifying agricultural markets, is also stepping up efforts to broaden the agro-processing sector export market base which realised over US$500 million in export earnings between January and June this year.
“Yes, there are quite a number of markets that we are looking at but as you know as the Agricultural Marketing Authority we just don’t focus on beef alone, we look at other value chains, horticultural products, dairy products, poultry products,” said Mr Isaya.
“There is also interest in poultry and dairy products in the DRC, for the horticulture industry, we are also looking at the China and UK markets. You know that Zimbabwe has just signed a citrus trade protocol with China which allows us to now export our citrus products to China. In addition to that, we now have about 12 orchards that are compliant with the China requirements, so, those are now ready to export to China,” he added.
In terms of a national export growth drive, the government views the agro-processing industry as a key pillar for sustaining growth through the value addition of raw commodities.