AMTA says Zim better placed to export fresh produce

ZIMBABWEAN farmers should consider adopting a market share promotion scheme so as to increase production of fresh produce in the country.

By using the model, Marketing and Trade Agency of Namibia (AMTA) managing director, Mr Lucas Lungameni, believes Zimbabwe can reclaim its status as one of the biggest producers of fresh vegetables and fruits in Southern Africa.

“Zimbabwe was once one of Southern Africa’s biggest producers of horticultural products and this has vanished due to the failure of maintaining a vibrant local market to sustain the sector,” he said.

“The market share scheme will ensure that local producers have a ready market for their products and it reduces dependency on imports and will increase exports.”

The market share promotion is a threshold that determines how much all importers of fresh fruit and vegetables need to source locally before they are granted import permits, he explained.

Mr Lungameni said the market share promotion has seen horticultural produce being one of Namibia’s top export revenue earners.

“Currently our major export are horticulture products, which through the adoption of the market share scheme we have managed to dominate the South African market.

We have set up infrastructure adequate enough to ensure that our products are packaged in a manner that corresponds with international standards,” he said.

“Although we are exporting, we have kept a vibrant local market through ensuring that imports don’t flood the market as our retailers are only allowed to import after buying 47 percent locally.”

Horticulture exported by Namibia in 2017/18 grew to 13 946 tonnes while produce marketed locally increased to 28 599 tonnes in 2017/18 from 24 442 tonnes in 2016/17.

The most productive vegetable exported by Namibia to South Africa and Angola were onions and the most productive fruit export were grapes.

Despite witnessing a surge in the export of horticultural produce, Namibia still needs some fresh fruits and vegetables, which presents Zimbabwe with an opportunity to tap into the market.

“Namibia needs an alternative supplier of horticultural produce besides South Africa and Zimbabwe stands a better chance to fill in that gap while at the same time our country is willing to do the same.

“Let’s utilise the trade agreements that exist between the two (Zimbabwe and Namibia) countries,” said Mr

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