Oliver Kazunga, Acting Business Editor
LOCAL horticultural exporters have been urged to ride on the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) tapping into low-hanging fruits like the US$39 million paprika market where South Africa is the crop’s top importer.
The AfCFTA commenced trading on January 1, 2021.
The country’s trade development and promotion agency, ZimTrade in a statement has said because South Africa is Zimbabwe’s largest trading partner, this will make it easy for local farmers to tap into this market.
“If local exporters ride on the AfCFTA — which commenced trading this year — the current market size is around US$39 million, with South Africa ranking as top African importer of paprika.
“Already, South Africa is Zimbabwe’s biggest trading partner, which will make it easy for local farmers to tap into this market,” said ZimTrade.
The trade development and promotion agency noted that the coming of the continental trade agreement raises an opportunity for Zimbabwean producers to target new markets such as Libya and Algeria who are second and third top importers of paprika in Africa.
Egypt and Tunisia are some potential lucrative markets for paprika in Africa.
“As local farmers target these markets, they need to come up with measures to address some barriers to entry as there is high competition in markets,” it said.
According to Trade Map, the international market for paprika and related products has been on an upward trend as indicated by world imports, which have been growing by an average of 7 percent between 2015 and 2019.
Total world trade of paprika and related products in 2019 was around US$743 million, up from US$703 million in 2018 and US$560 million in 2015.
“This is indicative of the growth in global trade of the product and the vast potential production of paprika offers.
“For Zimbabwe, the country has been recording insignificant exports of paprika over the past few years, albeit potential in regional and international markets,” said ZimTrade.
In 2019, local paprika farmers were not able to produce enough volumes to meet regional and international demand, according to a paper published by TradeComm.
To help improve production in the sector, ZimTrade has been working with the Nyanga Paprika Exporters Association to resuscitate production in the Nyamaropa and surrounding areas.
There are plans to roll out capacity development programmes to cover the existing and potential paprika farmers across all provinces.
“Going forward, local farmers need to increase production of quality paprika and target already performing and emerging markets,” it said.
On the international arena, North America is one of the biggest consumers of global paprika exports with a market size of US$221 million as at 2019, followed by Europe (excluding United Kingdom) with an estimated market size of US$196 million.
“Asia is also an attractive market whose size is approximately US$179 million,” said ZimTrade. – @okazunga.