ZimTrade ad­vo­cates or­ganic pro­duce

Chronicle (Zimbabwe) - - Business - Bianca Mlilo Busi­ness Re­porter

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.

@Bian­caMlilo

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