Processed foods exports hit US$57 million

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By Alois Vinga

THE quantity of processed foods exports continues to rise, reaching US$57 million in the year’s first eight months’ period, trade facilitation agency, ZimTrade, has reported.

This comes on the back of surging capacity utilisation which is relatively ring fenced by recovering economic fundamentals such as declining inflation and a stable local currency in the wake of fading volatility.

Latest data from ZimTrade shows that exports of processed foods continued to register growth amid increasing popularity of local products in regional markets during the period commencing January to August 2022.

“Processed foods exports increased by 32 percent from US$43 million in 2021 to US$57 million in 2022.

“Countries such as Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Mozambique, Botswana, Zambia, and Malawi have been identified as having potential following participation of local industry in trade promotion events in these markets.

“For example, leading buyers at the just ended Botswana Global Expo noted that the market prefers Zimbabwean products due to better taste and high quality compared to what is currently in the market,” said ZimTrade.

The trade promotion agency said apart from traditional products such as sugar in the sector, products such as milk and milk products, cordials, and biscuits are also growing in exports. Manufactured tobacco exports increased from US$35,6 million to US$41,7 million in the comparative period, translating to a 17% growth in exports.

The growth is attributable to rising demand in regional markets such as Zambia and Mozambique for Zimbabwe’s manufactured tobacco, and with targeted programmes to penetrate international markets such as Dubai, indications are that exports from the sector will continue to grow.

“In addition, agricultural Inputs and Implements exports have increased by 21% from US$12,6 million in 2021 to US$15.1 million this year.

“Major export products from the sector were seeds and spores used for sowing, insecticides and rodenticides.

“Exports in this sector are expected to increase as the 2022/23 farming season kicks in across Southern Africa,” the trade agency said.

Building and construction total exports stood at US$28 million during the period under review, marginally up from US$27 million recorded in 2021.

Ceramic tiles exports increased from US$4 million in January-August 2021 to US$10.3 million this year.

Ceramic tiles being exported by a Mashonaland West based company have sustained the sector as they open new markets in Zambia and South Africa.

Hides and skins exports increased by 43 percent from US$7.7 million during the period under review last year to US$11 million this year.

Major export products in the sector were raw hides and skins, fresh or preserved, not tanned, amounting to US$10.9 million.

Processed leather exports recorded a 19 percent growth, from US$1.2 million to US$1.4 million.

In addition, exports from packaging and stationary sector grew from US$6.3 million between January-August last year, to US$11.2 million in 2022, translating to a 77 percent increase.

The pharmaceuticals sector saw a 25,7 percent boost during this year, recording US$2,06 million compared to US$1,64 million recorded during the same period last year.

“There are indications that exports from the sector will continue to grow, driven by increasing demand for Zimbabwean products in regional markets.

“Although exports of manufactured products have been growing this year, the country’s total exports are still dominated by raw commodities, which translate to export of value, jobs, and infrastructure,” added ZimTrade.