Masvingo oozing with US$386 million export potential

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By Alois Vinga

MASVINGO province is oozing with an export potential of US$386 million which can be realised if local businesses are capacitated to tap into the potential, trade facilitation and promotion agency ZimTrade has said.

According to the agency, Chiredzi District, for instance, has four main activities; that is agriculture, tourism, mining, and manufacturing and is already the largest producer of processed sugar in Zimbabwe with markets in African countries such as Kenya, Botswana, and Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

“As more land is already being prepared for increased sugarcane production, Chiredzi presents an opportunity to grow exports of processed sugar,” said Zimtrade.

“Considering that at one time, Zimbabwe exported to the European Union – where the country had a quota of more than 200,000 metric tons of sugar per year – the same or even more can be achieved.”

The agency believes that these attributes, coupled with other advantages which, if combined with a value-chain development approach, will also see a viable leather industry in Chiredzi, with capacity to export processed leather, and manufactured leather products such as shoes, belts, bags, and jackets across the world.

Gutu district has also been singled out due to its advantages in maize, small grains such as sorghum, finger millet , sweet potatoes, groundnuts, sugar beans and cowpeas has also been growing, with other farmers venturing into fruit tree production such as citrus with expectations of spurred productivity if livestock challenges bedevilling the economy are addressed.

Masvingo district’s huge potential in processed foods and beverages sector focusing on beef and beverages, leather and leather sector as well as the engineering sector has also been underscored.

“The strong tourism sector around Great Zimbabwe makes Masvingo district the hub for exports of arts and crafts, riding on potential international buyers who visit the heritage site for leisure and holidays.

“Ideally, establishing an arts and crafts cluster and centres of excellence in and around Masvingo district will improve on quality and standards, as well as make it easy for artists to consolidate their products,” said Zimtrade.

Zaka, Bikita, Chivi and Mwenezi districts have also been factored in due to the huge economic potential which if tapped into has the potential to turn around the country’s fortunes.