Zimbabwe – United Kindom Trade Partnership (UKTP) programme, funded by the British Government and facilitated by the International Trade Centre (ITC) is set to build Zimbabwe’s capacity to increase exports of horticultural products to the UK and also to EU markets, Business Mail can report.
Speaking at the launch of the programme, Minister Industry and Commerce Dr Sekai Nzenza who read a speech on behalf of Minister of Foreign Affairs and Internal Trade Retired Lt General Dr S.B Moyo’s, hailed the initiative extended by the British government and ITC.
“The focus of this programme to build Zimbabwe’s capacity to increase exports of horticultural products to the UK and also to EU markets is very much appropriate and timely for Zimbabwe.
“The horticultural sector is one of the identified priority sectors that are targeted to contribute to the attainment of our export targets towards Vision 2030. This is a quick-win sector which the Ministry of Lands, Agriculture, Water and Rural Development is strategically developing and positioning through the Horticulture Recovery and Growth Plan”, she said.
The UKTP Programme which is designed to facilitate Zimbabwe, as a party to the Eastern and Southern Africa (ESA)-United Kingdom Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA), to meaningfully tap the benefits of the Trade Agreement by increasing bilateral trade with the UK.
The Minister went on to encourage the horticulture sector to embrace the opportunity and the capacity building rendered under the UKTP programme to grow exports.
“Zimbabwe and the UK have enjoyed and continue to enjoy very close trade relations. The UK remains Zimbabwe’s number one source market and export destination in Europe. The UK is also the largest foreign investor in Zimbabwe with over 300 firms in various sectors which are either wholly or partially owned by British investors.
“Zimbabwe’s total trade with the UK has averaged over US$100 million annually. It is encouraging to note that Zimbabwe’s exports to the UK increased by 276% from US$30 million in 2012 to US$112 million in 2018 before slightly going down to US$90 million in 2019.
“In terms of imports, Zimbabwe imported goods worth US$95 million from the UK in 2012, which went down to US$60 million in 2018 and US$50 million in 2019”, she added.
The current horticulture export figures of Zimbabwe to the UK of around US$14 million in 2019 (for peas, avocadoes, oranges, berries, flowers, plums, and tea) are negligible in the grand scheme of UK trade with the rest of the world.
The UK has strengthened ties with Zimbabwe by extending a duty-free and quota-free trading arrangements and some of the crops exported include vegetables, fruits and flowers.
High potential crops selected for the programme include mange tout peas, sugar snap pea, blueberries, chili, baby corn, tomatoes, paprika and avocadoes.
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