ZIMBABWEAN citrus exports to China are expected to be surpassed this year after the total external trade of the fruit variety reached a value of US$33,78 million last year, up from just over US$10 million in 2021.
The prediction is based on the General Administration of Customs of China (GACC), in June, allowing 11 local citrus orchards and six citrus pack houses to export the fruit variety into China.
Fresh citrus produce to be exported includes sweet orange (citrus sinensis), mandarin orange (citrus reticulata), grapefruit (citrus paradisi), lemon (citrus limon and citrus aurantifolia) and sour orange (citrus aurantium).
In its second quarter newsletter, the Competition Tariff Commission (CTC) said with stability coming into play post-pandemic and sudden growth in demand, this created growth opportunities for Zimbabwean agricultural citrus farmers.
“Zimbabwean citrus exports have been increasing over the past eight years with the highest export value recorded in 2022 of US$33,781 million. Fresh or dried oranges are the main exports,” the CTC said.
“China’s import of Zimbabwean citrus produce will increase citrus exports compared to 2022.
“The CEA facilitates citrus exporters’ access to a bigger market and market diversification opportunity reducing dependence on local markets.
“Given that farmers are complying with GACC standards, this means investment into machinery and processes to ensure that products meet standards.”
The CTC said that improvement in local farms and orchards transforms the farming industry through innovations and adoption of new technologies.
The commission based its findings off the recorded trade figures listed on international trade tracking website, the Trade Map.
“According to Trade Map, China imported citrus fruits worth US$594 million in 2019 alone,” the CTC said.
“China’s orange production has slightly increased over the past 3 years from 2018/19 to 2020/21, from 7 200 000 MT (metric tonnes) to 7 500 000 MT, while consumption increased from 6 989 000 MT to 7 335 000 MT.
“In the same period, there has been a drastic reduction in imports from 4 340 000 MT to 2 900 000 MT and stagnant exports of 55 000 MT.
“Before the pandemic, China’s orange imports witnessed seven consecutive