HARARE: China imported agricultural products worth 332 million U.S. dollars from Zimbabwe in the first seven months of this year, an increase of 111.6 percent year on year, the Chinese Embassy has said.
The huge jump in imports, the embassy noted, underlines China’s potential as a big market for Zimbabwe’s agricultural products.
“As well, China has high-yield investment and tech cooperation in Zimbabwe’s agricultural sector,” the embassy said in a tweet earlier this week.
As China’s appetite for Zimbabwean agricultural products grows, the General Administration of Customs of China recently issued an announcement allowing the import of fresh citrus from Zimbabwe that meets relevant requirements.
The fresh citrus to be exported include sweet orange, mandarin, grapefruit, lemon and lime.
Zimbabwe has the advantage of good natural conditions that are beneficial for producing cheap, sweet and juicy citrus. The country’s marketing period is also different from the domestic citrus market in China, which can meet a certain demand in the Chinese market.
The Zimbabwean government is currently working to boost horticulture production to meet the growing demand for citrus fruits worldwide.
On Thursday this week, Zimbabwean Finance Minister Mthuli Ncube launched a 30 million U.S. dollars export revolving fund to revive the once vibrant horticultural sector.
Chinese Ambassador to Zimbabwe Guo Shaochun last month revealed that during the first half of this year, bilateral trade between Zimbabwe and China reached 973 million U.S. dollars, up 57 percent year on year. Out of that, China imported 504 million dollars worth of products from Zimbabwe and exported 469 million dollars of goods to Zimbabwe, up 103 and 26 percent, respectively.
In its editorial published Tuesday, the state-controlled Herald newspaper hailed the growing Sino-Zimbabwe trade. The newspaper said trade between the two countries was not just growing but also maturing in a new direction, with Chinese businesses now importing more Zimbabwean goods and products than they export.
It said of that total and the combined increase, Zimbabwean exports to China more than doubled to 504 million dollars while imports grew by 26 percent to 469 million dollars.
“Several points need stressing. The trade in both directions was growing far faster than our economic growth rate or the Chinese growth rate.
“Imports from China are now a larger percentage of total imports, so we can assume that Chinese businesses and producers have the right products and services at the right price.
“The second point to note is that the balance of trade is now in Zimbabwe’s favour…Now Zimbabwean products are getting organized and that is showing,” the newspaper wrote.
It noted that the increase in Zimbabwe’s exports to China could be due to various factors, among them competitive pricing, aggressive marketing and value addition to some of the products before they are exported.
“Chinese investment is building up, and we need to remember that these are independent business decisions,” it said.