Zimbabwe’s plant exports soar

THE Government issued at least 32 000 phytosanitary certificates to potential exporters of plants and plant products in 2023, as the country continues to grow its exports in the agriculture sector.

The figure, which was an increase of 7 000, was largely boosted by the citrus exports deal signed between Zimbabwe and China.

A phytosanitary certificate is required to facilitate exports, as it shows that the agricultural products have been inspected and are pest- and disease-free.

Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water and Rural Development Permanent Secretary Professor Obert Jiri on Friday revealed the latest figures, while addressing a Zimbabwe food control system assessment and phytosanitary capacity evaluation (PCE) high-level meeting.

“The National Plant Protection Organisation (NPPO) issued 32 000 phytosanitary certificates in 2023, 7 000 more than recorded for the export of plants and plant products from the country as compared to 2022.

“The country operationalised the phytosanitary protocol for the export of citrus to China from Zimbabwe in 2023,” said Prof Jiri.

Last year, Zimbabwe exported more than 46 containers of oranges to China after the two countries signed a citrus trade protocol in 2022.

Fresh citrus products exported to China from Zimbabwe include sweet orange (Citrus sinensis), mandarin orange (Citrus reticulata), grapefruit (Citrus paradisi), lemon (Citrus limon and aurantifolia) and sour orange (Citrus aurantium).

The General Administration of Customs of China also released a list of registered Zimbabwean orchards and packhouses for fresh citrus exports to the Asian giant.

Prof Jiri said the NPPO also worked hard to address the deficiencies noted in the audit of the export of citrus to the European Union.

“This great work, amongst other achievements, where no new pest incursion into the country was recorded for the past year, shows a good deed that requires protection,” he said.

Zimbabwe concluded an eight-month-long assessment of its national food control system to build up capabilities, strengthen governance and improve the strategic planning of food control in the country.

NPPO, in partnership with the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), undertook three PCE missions in Kadoma, with the last one ending on Thursday in Harare. FAO subregional coordinator for Southern Africa Zimbabwe Dr Patrice Talla Takoukam said food and phytosanitary control play a crucial role in ensuring better public health.

“It involves the regulation and monitoring of the production, processing, distribution and consumption of food to ensure its safety and quality. Countries also need to assure the safety and quality of their foods entering the international trade space and ensure that imported foods conform to set requirements.

“Strongly equipped, robust national food and phytosanitary control systems are, therefore, essential for safeguarding public health by preventing foodborne illnesses, managing allergens, controlling chemical hazards, investigating disease outbreaks and facilitating safe international trade.”

Ministry of Health and Child Care acting Permanent Secretary Dr Wenceslas Nyamayaro called for synergies among sister ministries and all stakeholders to improve the country’s exports, in line with international trade standards.

Sunday Mail

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