Exports up by 13,7pc for Jan to April

16 Jun, 2024 - 00:06 0 Views
Exports up by 13,7pc for Jan to April

The Sunday Mail

Trade Focus

Allan Majuru

ZIMBABWE is celebrating a significant milestone in its export sector.

Figures released by the Zimbabwe National Statistics Agency recently show that, for the period January-April this year, the country’s exports reached an impressive US$2,2 billion, a 13,7 percent increase compared to the US$1,94 billion recorded during the same period in 2023.

As exports have been growing, the other leg of success has been the reduction of the trade deficit. Statistics show that, although imports increased by 7 percent to US$2,92 billion, from US$2,71 billion in 2023, the trade deficit for the period under review stood at US$715 million.

This is an 8 percent decrease compared to US$776 million recorded during the same period in 2023.

The major reason for the growth in imports is retooling, as figures show that machinery imports contributed 17,8 percent to total imports (US$519 million). Imports of raw materials stood at US$363 million. During the same period under review, exports of value-added products increased by 25 percent, from US$115,2 million recorded last year to US$144,3 million this year.

Further, horticultural exports are recovering, with a 4,7 percent surge recorded, from US$12,6 million in 2023 to US$13,2 million this year. This remarkable growth is a testament to the spirited efforts by President Mnangagwa, who has placed a strong emphasis on boosting production of export-oriented goods.

Under his leadership, Zimbabwe has focused on leveraging on its diverse agricultural, mineral and manufacturing resources to enhance its export portfolio.

Central to this success has been the role of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Trade, which has been implementing the economic diplomacy agenda to maximise the value of Zimbabwe’s foreign relations.

A recent highlight of these efforts was the signing of a memorandum of understanding between Foreign Affairs and International Trade Minister Ambassador Frederick Shava and South Korea’s Trade, Industry and Energy Minister Inkyo Cheong.

This agreement is expected to further diversify and boost Zimbabwe’s market reach.  In recent years, Zimbabwe’s diplomatic missions have been transformed into dynamic hubs, forging critical linkages between local producers and international buyers. This strategic positioning has opened new avenues for Zimbabwean products in global markets, ensuring that the country’s economic footprint continues to expand.

By fostering relationships with international markets and facilitating direct connections between local producers and buyers, these diplomatic missions have become vital cogs in the nation’s economic engine. Their efforts are part of a broader strategy to ensure Zimbabwe attains optimum value from its foreign relations.

Complementing these diplomatic efforts, the national trade development and promotion organisation, ZimTrade, has been instrumental in developing the capacities of local exporters.

For example, through its cluster development programme, ZimTrade has successfully integrated local small businesses and rural communities into mainstream export businesses.

This initiative has provided a significant boost to the country’s export potential by fostering sustainable growth at the grassroots level.

One example of this initiative is the Midlands Peas Cluster, which has successfully accessed markets in the Netherlands, and is now introducing new product lines.

In Nyanyadzi, ZimTrade has been capacitating over 100 honey producers, preparing them to access international markets.

These producers are on the verge of attaining organic certification, a key requirement for entering international markets. The success of this pilot project could see over 1 000 more honey producers integrated into the scheme. This might make Chimanimani one of the largest honey-producing districts in the country.

To date, over 20 export clusters have been established by ZimTrade across the country, with some already exporting to international markets such as Europe, the Middle East and Asia.

Movers

Exports of processed foods were a big mover during the period under review, recording a 97 percent increase, from US$21,8 million in 2023 to US$42,9 million this year. Exports of processed foods are expected to continue growing as more markets open up, courtesy of the export promotion events organised by ZimTrade.

In May, buyers from the Democratic Republic of Congo interacted with local manufacturers during an inward buyer mission, where they expressed interest in sourcing a range of processed foods from local producers, noting that the market now prefers Zimbabwean goods.

ZimTrade is also organising an outward seller mission to Tete, Mozambique, where processed foods will be among the issues to anchor discussions at the export promotion event. Horticultural exports marginally increased by 4,7 percent to US$13,2 million, up from US$12,6 million.

Major exports in the sector include tea at US$6,2 million, fresh flowers (US$1,4 million) and macadamia nuts (US$1,3 million).

Projections are that exports from the sector will continue to grow as the year progresses, with the season for peas, berries and citrus kicking in.

Also, pharmaceutical exports increased from US$1,29 million in 2023 to US$2 million in 2024, translating to a 54 percent increase.

Major exports in the sector were medicaments of mixed or unmixed products for retail, amounting to US$1,9 million.

As a show of confidence in Zimbabwe’s livestock and livestock products, exports from the sector amounted to US$1,9 million, up from US$908 000 in 2023.

Major exports in the sector were bird eggs at US$1 million and live poultry at US$803 000. In addition, leather exports increased by 54 percent, from US$633 000 in 2023 to US$979 000 in 2024.

Major exported products in the sector were leather at US$517 000; and goat or kid skin leather (without hair), valued at US$407 000.

Mineral and alloy exports contributed 71 percent to total exports, down from 79 percent the previous year.

Exports in this sector increased by 3,4 percent, from US$1,53 billion to US$1,58 billion. Unmanufactured tobacco exports increased by 66 percent to US$439 million during the period under review in 2024, from US$263 million in 2023.

Manufactured tobacco exports remained at last year’s figure of US$30,7 million.

Shakers

Clothing, textile and footwear exports fell from US$5,4 million to US$4,6 million, translating to a 14 percent drop.

Major exports in the sector included men’s or boys’ suits, ensembles, jackets, blazers, trousers and tracksuits, ski suits and swimwear. Household electrical and furniture exports dropped by 29 percent from US$7 million to US$5 million.

Major exported products in the sector include tables, kitchen or household articles and parts thereof of iron or steel, refrigerators and freezers.

Allan Majuru is the chief executive officer of ZimTrade.

 

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