By Alois Vinga
EXPORTS of value-added products between January and July this year amounted to US$206,1 million, compared to U$172,4 million recorded during the same period last year, trade development and promotion agency ZimTrade has reported.
ZimTrade reported that the growth is on the back of spirited efforts to transform Zimbabwe’s relations with countries in the region and beyond into economic gains in the hope that this will propel the country into an upper-middle income economy by 2030.
Various initiatives have been put in place to support value addition, which among others include access to cheaper foreign currency on the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) Foreign Exchange Auction, Willing Buyer Willing Seller initiative for trading the greenback which have gone a long way to support the importation of machinery and raw materials.
In an update, ZimTrade said there has been a significant increase of value added exports compared to the comparative period last year.
“Between January and July this year, exports of value-added products amounted to US$206,1 million compared to U$172,4 million recorded during the same period last year, signifying a 19,5% increase.
“On the other hand, imports increased by 17 percent to US$4.8 billion from US$4,1 billion in 2021.The increase in imports is driven by the growth in production, which has seen the manufacturing sector sourcing raw materials,” the trade agency said.
During the period under review, exports to South Africa decreased from US$1,8 billion to US$1,5 billion whilst exports to UAE increased from US$802 million to US$1,2 billion.
Exports to China are increasing, from US$3 million in 2021 to US$422 million in 2022, showing that companies are now exporting directly to China, while exports to the Netherlands have also grown during the period under review, from US$3,29 million in 2021, to US$28,33 million this year.
The share of exports to Italy has also made a huge jump this year, recording US$36,83 million, against around US$551 thousand recorded last year.
Processed foods dominated the exports, increasing by 35% from US$35,2 million in July 2021 to US$47,5 million in Jul 2022.
Major exporters’ products in the sector were sugar US$18 million, pastry products US$4 million, malt US$2,1 million and fruit juices US$2 million.
“The demand for Zimbabwe’s processed foods is growing in the region, and local companies can capitalize on the current momentum to introduce more products,” added ZimTrade.