What the latest trade data tells us about Zimbabwe’s exports


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How COVID-19 hit horticulture exports

COVID-19 had a major impact on Zimbabwe’s horticulture exports, which are among the country’s top four forex earners. Exports fell 13.5% from US$68.8 million in 2019 to US$59.5 million in 2020.

This happened because of lockdowns around the world, which weakened demand for Zimbabwe’s main fresh produce; peas, citrus fruits, berries, and flowers. The major importing countries are Netherlands, United Kingdom, Spain, Portugal, France, and Germany.

“With the short lifespan of horticultural produces, some farmers were forced to destroy their produces as they had no market to sale,” says ZimTrade.

While these exports fell, ZimTrade sees opportunity in “superfoods”, which are in demand internationally due to their high protein and low calories. An example of these are avocados, whose production the likes of Ariston and Meikles have been looking to expand.

Says ZimTrade: “Currently, as part of its trade facilitation activities, ZimTrade is engaging buyers in United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Bahrain who have expressed interest to source from Zimbabwe if farmers are able to meet demand and have competitive prices. The country is also in the process of establishing a citrus protocol with China, which is expected to ease and improve exports to the Asian country.”

Other falling exports

Clothing and textiles exports dropped 29% from US$61.9 million in 2019 to US$44 million in 2020. Reflecting the impact of COVID-19 on travel and tourism, there was a massive 49.5% fall in the export of arts and crafts, from US$10.4 million in 2019 to US$5.3 million in 2020.

Zimbabwe’s key export markets

Zimbabwe’s major export destinations in 2020 were South Africa (39%), UAE (20%), Mozambique (9%), Uganda (3%), Belgium (2%), and Zambia, Botswana and Kenya each accounting for 1%. Exports to Mozambique grew 15% from US$354 million in 2019 to US$408 million in 2020.- NewZWire

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Charles Rukuni
The Insider is a political and business bulletin about Zimbabwe, edited by Charles Rukuni. Founded in 1990, it was a printed 12-page subscription only newsletter until 2003 when Zimbabwe's hyper-inflation made it impossible to continue printing.

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