HARARE, June 9 (Xinhua) -- The Horticultural Development Council (HDC) on Friday welcomed China's approval of fresh citrus imports from Zimbabwe, saying the development will open new windows to boost agricultural trade.
"The industry is very optimistic about the opportunities that will arise from the protocol with China. We are now working with those that are registered and able to ensure compliance requirements are met in order to ensure a smooth first run of orders," HDC Chief Executive Officer Linda Nielsen told Xinhua.
On June 1, 2023, the General Administration of Customs of China released the list of registered Zimbabwean orchards and pack houses that can export citrus to China. A total of 11 citrus orchards and six citrus pack houses in Zimbabwe were listed among those that will be involved in citrus exports to China.
This came after Zimbabwe and China last year signed a citrus protocol to give Zimbabwean companies access to export citrus to China, one of Zimbabwe's top export destinations.
Nielsen said Zimbabwe is expecting to start its maiden fresh citrus exports to China later this month.
"The season is starting within the next two weeks, and will depend on orders received from China," she said.
Nielsen said the HDC is now working with Plant Quarantine Services Institute on China Market access for blueberries, avocados and chilli, in a move that will give Zimbabwe a major competitive advantage if it gets ahead of neighboring countries.
Zimbabwe, which has a total of 4,000 hectares of land under citrus, has a favorable climate for the production of citrus.
Nielsen said affordable finance is now of critical importance to ensure growers increase production to meet the high demand in China.