Zim seeks to widen exports to Kenya

Source: Zim seeks to widen exports to Kenya | Herald (Business)

Michael Tome  Business Reporter

ZIMBABWE is looking to diversify exports to Kenya by expanding into the Fast-Moving Consumer Goods (FMCG) segment and shipment of horticulture products; an expansion of the traditional trade basket hitherto dominated by tobacco and sugar.

This came out during the Zimbabwe’s premier trade promotion and development body, ZimTrade, Kenya market survey dissemination seminar held on Monday.

The seminar sought to share findings from the Kenya market study conducted in March this year.

According to Trade Map, Zimbabwe’s exports to Kenya in 2021 amounted to US$17 million consisting mainly of sugar and sugar products as well as tobacco and tobacco substitutes.

Imports from Kenya totalled US$27 million in the same period, consisting mainly of printed books, newspapers, and other products used for printing.

The survey, however, identified supply gaps for horticulture produce particularly citrus products, agriculture inputs, and implements as well as FMCG sector produce.

To set in motion the intended export diversification drive, ZimTrade on Monday signed a memorandum of understanding with the Fresh Produce Exporters Association of Kenya (FPEAK), an arrangement that will see local small-scale horticulture farmers jointly grow and supply horticultural produce to markets such as the European Union and  United Arab Emirates.

Speaking at the convention, ZimTrade chief executive officer, Allan Majuru noted that there was immense potential to bolster trade between two countries.

“There is clearly room to diversify the product range that can be traded either way so as to improve overall trade between our two countries. Trade volumes between our two countries should be improved through collaborative ventures that can be pursued between like-minded companies in both countries.

“…for example, in the Kenyan delegation today, we have the Fresh Produce Exporters Association of Kenya (FPEAK) who are looking to collaborate with Zimbabwean small-scale horticultural farmers to jointly supply horticultural produce to markets such as the European Union and United Arab Emirates, among others. 

“There is potential to pursue similar ventures in many other sectors,” said Mr Majuru.

Kenya is a significant exporter of ornamentals, vegetables and fruits mainly destined for United Kingdom and the European Union markets, while markets like United Arab Emirates, Australia, Japan and the rest of eastern Asia take a small quantity of the aforesaid products.

Hosea Machuki, the chief executive officer of the Fresh Produce Exporters Association of Kenya (FPEAK), said the Kenyan business delegation was in Zimbabwe to scout for prospects that will shore up horticulture produce output for its varied markets dotted across the world.

He said the delegation was mainly in search of opportunities for co-investment in the horticulture industry where Zimbabweans will partner Kenyan exporters to develop an out-grower model.

“Kenya’s avocado production hit 70 000 tonnes last year, we do 800 000 tonnes of mangoes per year but the global market continues to expand for horticulture produce, we are looking at opportunities on how that can be expanded.

“Kenya imports about US$500 000 worth of berries, imports about US$14 million worth of apples, we import about US$6,8 million worth of citrus, so we are looking at how we can work together whether to develop farms or to just import what you are able to grow, “ said Mr Machuki.

According to Mr Machuki Kenya is not able to produce many citrus products such as apples and quinces and intends to acquire the products from Zimbabwe.

Retail Trade Association of Kenya (RETRAK) chief executive Wambui Mbare said the  Kenyan delegation needed to create direct linkages with Zimbabwe, a clear departure from the current trend where Zimbabwean merchandise reaches Kenya through brokers mainly from South Africa.

 “This meeting is to see what kind of linkages we can create between Zimbabwe and Kenya, we have seen there are gaps in things like fashion, optics, and books. We are looking at how to create direct linkages on some products like sugar confectionery, footwear, clothing, cheese, and fruits, so we want to create linkages so that it is a direct trade vis a vis having to go through a second country for it to get into Kenya.

“A lot of products for our shelves in the retail industry come from South Africa and we have learned that part of that actually comes from Zimbabwe to South Africa then to Kenya,” said Mrs Mbarire.

ZimTrade export development manager Tatenda Marume highlighted that Kenya provided a good export market for a number of sectors predominantly agriculture inputs and accessories and FMCG sector produce.

“The Kenyan market is ripe for Zimbabwean products, during our survey we identified quite a number of opportunities, especially in FMCG and agriculture inputs and implements, as you know Kenya is an agriculture-based economy and there are a lot of small scale and large scale farmers

“We would want to work with FPEAK on a collaborative basis which will see Kenyan farmers and exporters collaborate with our local farmers as well on a joint venture basis with the view to grow in Zimbabwe and export to the world,” said Mr Marume.

President Mnangagwa on his last visit to Kenya signed bilateral agreements with his Kenyan counterpart, President Uhuru Kenyatta.

These engagements are expected to increase cooperation in trade, investment, and tourism, as well as several other areas of mutual interest.

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