Inside China, Zimbabwe citrus export deal

By Business Review Writer

Fresh citrus from Zimbabwe can now be exported to China, following the finalisation of a regulatory framework by Beijing at the beginning of this month.

Last year, China indicated that it would allow Zimbabwe’s citrus fruit including sweet orange, mandarin, grapefruit, lemon, and lime to enter the market if exporters satisfied regulation such as registration with Ministry of Land, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water Resources and Rural Development of the Republic of Zimbabwe and jointly approved by the General Administration of Customs of the People’s Republic of China.

Further, Zimbabwean exporters needed to take effective measures for monitoring, prevention, and comprehensive pest management to avoid and control the occurrence of quarantine pests and their mediators that are of concern to the Chinese as well as meet requirements for packaging, storage, cold treatment and shipment of citrus.

The quarantine pests of concern to China include a total of 15 species such as the apple special-shaped curl moth, Mediterranean fruit fly, and bacteria of African Citrus greening disease.

“On June 1st 2023, the General Administration of Customs of China released the list of registered Zimbabwean orchards and packhouses for citrus exporting to China,” Chinese Embassy in Harare confirmed in a Tweet at the weekend.

A total of 11 citrus orchards and six citrus packhouses in Zimbabwe were listed among those that will be involved in citrus exports to China.

Zimbabwe, which has a total of 4,000 hectares of land under citrus, has a favorable climate for the production of citrus.

Zimbabwe has a season that is the opposite of China’s climate, and its citrus production season coincides with the off-season of citrus production in China, according to industry information. Counter-seasonal supply will effectively alleviate the tight demand for citrus in China.

In Zimbabwe, there is abundant sunshine and the temperature is pleasant. The unique natural conditions are beneficial for producing sweet and juicy citrus. According to experts, compared with the fruits from other countries, Zimbabwean citrus has an advantage in price, and it will get very popular when exported to China.

Zimbabwe and China in 2022 signed a citrus protocol to give Zimbabwean companies access to export citrus to China, one of Zimbabwe’s top export destinations.

The consummation of the citrus export deal likely paves way for more Zimbabwean fruit such as avocado and blueberry, billed as the next best prospects.

China ranked as the third largest importer of Zimbabwean goods last year, according to the country’s trade promotion agency ZimTrade.

Overall trade between the two countries surged 29.2 percent year on year to a record high of US$2.43 billion in 2022. – Additional reporting by Xinhua

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