LOCAL horticultural firms are set to have wider access to export markets after Del Monte Produce, one of the world's leading vertically integrated producers, marketers and distributors of horticultural products expressed interest in the local fresh produce.
Del Monte Produce, a US agribusiness firm based in California with branches in Dubai, the UAE, is one of the companies visited by a Zimbabwean delegation at the Dubai Expo in October last year.
Following the visit, Del Monte is now engaging local companies for the export of oranges, blueberries and other products, with high hopes that the country could benefit from better prices for its produce.
Industry and Commerce Minister Dr Sekai Nzenza told The Herald Finance and Business this week Del Monte Produce was also working with ZimTrade to subcontract local companies through providing appropriate seed for guaranteed product quality.
"In order to help in the actualization of value chain development in the country, the Ministry of Industry took advantage of the global forum to sell the Zimbabwean brand," said Dr Nzenza.
"One such visit was to the United Arab Emirates, where we took advantage of the visit to engage with companies who are doing business with the country and those not yet doing so through various interventions."
Del Monte is also the leading producer and distributor of prepared food across the globe.
During the third quarter to October 2021, Del Montes' net sales increased to US$1 billion compared with US$989,7 million in the prior-year period. Net sales for the first nine months of 2021 were almost flat at US$3,2 billion compared with the same period in 2020.
The firm's gross profit for the third quarter decreased to about US$48,9 million compared with US$67,3 million in the prior-year period while gross profit for the first nine months of 2021 increased to US$264 million compared with US$214,5 million in the same prior-year period
Dr Nzenza said the Government had also engaged Ali Gholami, one of the leading companies in fresh fruits and vegetables in the UAE. The firm specializes in the procurement and supply of a wide variety of fresh products into the Gulf region.
Following the visit, ZimTrade is also facilitating the export of fruits such as banana, strawberries, blueberries, watermelons, pears, avocados, mangoes, grapes, pineapples vegetables such as broccoli, cabbage, tomatoes, green peas, green beans, onions okra and mushroom to the UAE.
The five-year contract signed between Ali Gholami and a local company, Eden Chase Zimbabwe for the supply of various products such as lettuce, strawberries, blueberries and peas is also being revived.
"Under the value chains development framework as contained in the National Development Strategy 1, agro-processing companies in the country can take advantage of good climate conditions in the country, to increase horticultural products production, and thereby increasing the market share with the continent under the Africa Continental Free Trade Area framework," said Dr Nzenza.
Source: The Herald