Agric, value addition way to go- Botswana envoy

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Harare (New Ziana)-Botswana and Zimbabwe should now focus on value addition of agricultural produce as the region works towards attainment of its development agenda, an envoy said on Thursday.

Speaking to journalists after bidding farewell to President Emmerson Mnangagwa at his offices, outgoing Botswana ambassador to Zimbabwe, Lt. Gen. (R.T.D.) Louis M. Fisher said the future of trade between the two countries lie in the agriculture sector.

“Agriculture should now spearhead our development agenda. We have got young people who do not have jobs but we have the potential in agriculture to approach agriculture as a business.

“Our children must make money in agriculture, they must use their skills and technology for value addition and this will move us towards our development agenda,” he said.

Commenting on general trade relations between Botswana and Zimbabwe, Ambassador Fisher said it was not as bad.

“In trade, it means its shorter, quicker to sell goods in Botswana or sell goods in Zimbabwe so that alone is a boost to our economies,” he said adding that products from Zimbabwe were of top quality.

According to trade promotion body Zimtrade, Zimbabwe’s total exports to Botswana were US$19.2 million in 2018 against Botswana’s total import bill of US$ 4.4 billion.

This is despite Zimbabwe’s close proximity to Botswana, which makes it easy to land products in that country.

A market survey conducted by ZimTrade in Botswana in 2019 revealed potential for local businesses to supply an array of products and services including processed foods and fresh produce, pork products, agricultural implements and inputs, building materials and mining supplies.

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