Zimbabwe: UAE company to increase fruit and vegetable imports

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MAJOR distributor of fruit and vegetable products, Ali Gholami, based in Dubai, United Arab Emirates (UAE), says he intends to increase the volume and value of his horticultural imports from Zimbabwe by multiplying the current tonnage more than 10 times over the next two years.

Ali Gholami’s director of imports, Shihad Aboobacker, said in an interview after a visit to the company by vice president Constantino Chiwenga. He said the Dubai-based company is currently importing a few types of berries from a Zimbabwean company, but has started working on plans to expand its import basket on several occasions.

The Vice President visited the company, including its state-of-the-art chillers, accompanied by the Minister of Industry and Trade, Dr Sekai Nzenza, the Minister of Finance and Economic Development, Professor Mthuli Ncube , the Secretary of Industry and Commerce, Dr Mavis Sibanda and the Permanent Secretary of the Office of the Vice-President, the Division General. Godfrey Chanakira (Rtd) as well as a number of supervisory ministry directors.

Ali Gholami is one of many companies and investors in the Gulf region lining up to speak with the vice president, who is in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, for the Global Business Forum Africa (GBFA), which will be held today and tomorrow, on the sidelines of Expo 2020 Dubai.

Mr Aboobacker said it was possible to increase the tonnage after the company was informed that Zimbabwe had the capacity to produce a wide range of other fruits and vegetables that it imports from other parts of the world, including bananas, pineapples, tomatoes, beets, watermelons and sweet potatoes, among others.

Mr Aboobacker said his company currently imports around five tonnes of horticultural produce from Zimbabwe, which it started recently, but after realizing that a number of fresh produce it imports from more distant markets than Zimbabwe, is firmly committed to increasing its imports from that country. .

“At the moment we can say maybe only five tonnes per week, we just started two months ago, but we would like to increase the volume.

“At the moment we have a program for one or two products but we would like to increase the volume; we have an agreement with one of the Zimbabwean producers’ associations.

“So there will be another 10 new products that we will import from Zimbabwe and within two years the volume will increase by more than 10 times, we have just started the business with Zimbabwe and so we have few products, but later we’re going to have more, ”Mr. Aboobacker said.

In an interview after meeting Mr. Ali Gholami, founder and chairman and other senior executives of the Dubai-based company, who had previously toured, Vice President Chiwenga said the company has huge potential for increase the volume of fruits and vegetables from Zimbabwe.

“They are in vegetables, in blue berries and other fruits.

“The purpose of the tour was to see the range of fruits (and vegetables) they would like to import for their market here, what we produce in Zimbabwe and what Zimbabwe can offer in terms of fruits and vegetables.

“We have seen that there is great potential in (UAE); so there will be further discussions, using our own ambassador here; Ambassador Lovemore Mazemo, who will be contacting the company here (UAE) .

“The directors of the company will also come to Zimbabwe to make contracts with a number of farmers, with a number of horticultural producers and therefore we see this great potential,” said Vice President Chiwenga.

He pointed out that Zimbabwe has the potential to supply the Dubai market and the rest of the UAE constituents with their fresh fruit and vegetable needs in the horticultural sector, “because we can grow any type of crop. vegetable in Zimbabwe “.

Vice President Chiwenga said Zimbabwe had a wide range of fruits and vegetables, stressing that all that was going to be done would be to determine what markets want and in what quantities.

Professor Mthuli said the government is more than ready to play its part in supporting the country’s fruit and vegetable growers, including the company that currently supplies Ali Gholami from the United Arab Emirates, to meet market demands. export.

The head of the Treasury said the government would set up revolving fund for horticultural producers within the next two months, which would be extended to producers through local banks at preferential rates.

Zimbabwe’s total horticultural exports for the first six months of this year exceeded US $ 30 million as producers benefited from government incentives, a good rainy season and the reopening of world markets.

According to official data recently released by the local trade promotion body, ZimTrade, export growth represents an increase of 6.5% from US $ 31.8 million in the same period last year. at US $ 33.9 million.

Sector actors attribute the increase in export earnings to a horticultural recovery plan, government financing mechanisms and technical assistance from the government and development partners. The main contributors to the income over the six months included tea, macadamia nuts, citrus fruits, berries, fresh flowers, and legumes.

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