ZimTrade advocates organic produce
ZIMBABWE’S trade agency, ZimTrade, has called on fruit farmers to take advantage of the growing market for local organic produce in the European Union.
Organic farming excludes conventional methods of fertilising and weed control.
It, however, includes the use of natural fertilisers to feed soil and plants, and crop rotation or mulch to control weeds.
ZimTrade said in its latest monthly newsletter that Netherlands has become one of the largest importers of fresh mangoes and other fruits globally and is entirely dependent on imports, as it does not produce these fruits.
“The import bill for mangoes, mangosteens and guavas in the Netherlands has been on an upward trend, increasing by 38 percent from $197 million in 2011 to $272 million in 2015,” said ZimTrade.
“In 2015, amongst the EU 28 member countries, the Netherlands accounted for 25 percent of the total import bill ($929 million) for mangoes, mangosteens and guavas.
It was followed by Germany and the United Kingdom, both at 18 percent.”
The bulk of the Netherlands’ consignment of mangoes is received between November and May, which coincides with Zimbabwe’s mango harvesting season, which runs from December to mid-April.
THE United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) Standard FF-45, sets standards for mangoes meant for export.
They should meet the requirements regarding size, tolerances, presentation, marking and quality.
The quality checks for mangoes are carried out at the export-control stage after preparation and packaging.
“Zimbabwean companies in the food and agro-processing sector now have access to a new chromatography trace elements testing laboratory,” ZimTrade said.
“The facility was made possible through the EU-funded Trade and Private Sector Development Programme as part of efforts to upgrade the national standards, quality assurance and testing infrastructure in Zimbabwe.”
It said the laboratory can assist mango producers/exporters in testing their products for safety and quality in order to ensure that they meet international standards for export.
The interim Economic Partnership Agreement offers opportunities for Zimbabwe to export its fresh produce to the European Union bloc duty and quota free.