Horticulture exports to UAE set to increase
Dubai (New Ziana) – Exports of horticultural produce from Zimbabwe to the United Arab Emirates (UAE) are set to increase as major companies from the UAE line up to secure supply of larger quantities of fresh produce from Zimbabwe.
This emerged during a tour of one of UAE’s leading fruit and vegetable company, Ali Gholami on Tuesday by Vice President General Constantino Chiwenga (Rtd) who was accompanied by Finance and Economic Development Minister Professor Mthuli Ncube, Industry and Commerce Minister Dr Sekai Nzenza.
Established in 1970, Ali Gholami started off by importing and exporting fresh fruits and vegetables from Iran, India, Pakistan, Syria and Lebanon and has now grown to be a successful venture recording sales of Dh300 million (about USD82 million) in 2019.
Vice President Chiwenga said there was massive potential for increased exports from Zimbabwe to the UAE.
“This a company which has great potential to do business with Zimbabwe, already they are in Zimbabwe into vegetables, into blue berries and other fruits and the purpose (of his visit) was to see the range of the fruits they would want to import for their market here,” he said.
“We have seen that there is great potential so there is going to be further discussions utilising our own ambassador here, ambassador (Lovemore) Mazemo. The directors of the company will come to Zimbabwe to enter into contracts with a number of horticulture producers, and so we see that great potential.
“Zimbabwe has that potential to provide that market here with most of their requirements because we can grow any type of vegetable in Zimbabwe and we have got a wide range of fruits.”
Ali Gholami import purchase manager, Shihad Aboobacker said they were currently importing about 5 tons of horticulture produce from Zimbabwe.
“We recently started business with Zimbabwe. We did not know there are so many horticultural products in Zimbabwe but now we know there are so many horticultural products in Zimbabwe,” he said.
“We started with blueberries, strawberries, raspberries and other types of berries and now we would like to do some potatoes, melons and some other products. We just started (importing from Zimbabwe) like two months ago and on a weekly basis we import about five tons only, but it will be increased to more than 10 tons soon.”
Weighing in, Professor Ncube said government was extending support to horticulture farmers to ensure adequate supply.
“With regards to financing of farmers so that you are assured of supply, we are setting up what we call a horticulture revolving fund where government is partnering banks and then through that we actually give cash cover to the bank and then the bank on lends to the farmers,” he said.
“So we have started a process of bringing the industry together for the purposes of funding. That revolving fund should start financing farmers in the next two months. We are very serious about supporting the industry.”
He said apart from the traditional horticultural produce that Zimbabwe could supply the UAE, coffee was also emerging as an exciting export product for Zimbabwe.
He said Zimbabwe was on course to creating a formidable horticulture industry.
“We had the lead but we lost that lead to Kenya and others but we very keen to get that back so we are very serious.”