Agriculture companies should target Botswana: ZimTrade

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HARARE – The country’s trade promotion body, ZimTrade says local manufacturers need to start exploiting the Botswana market with agriculture implements to boost their export earnings and the economic fortunes.

This follows a market research ZimTrade carried out in Botswana to identify export opportunities as the country pushes for an export led economic turnaround.

ZimTrade regional manager Similo Nkala said the Botswana was diversifying its economy from diamond based into other sectors such as manufacturing and agriculture which presented Zimbabwean manufacturers an opportunity.

Currently, Botswana’s major source markets for agriculture implements are South Africa at 88 percent, followed by China at 3 percent while Korea, Germany, USA, Zambia and Namibia each contribute 1 percent.

India is at 0, 4 percent while the remaining 3 percent is from other countries.

“Botswana is looking at other ways of diversifying its economy from diamonds and they are seriously considering agriculture.

“This is a great opportunity for Zimbabwean farmers to get into that market as well as supply agriculture implements,” he said.

According to the ZimTrade market research, Botswana’s farming has largely been subsistence with most of it not mechanised.

For instance, its total production only meets 17 percent of the country’s annual cereal production and the government is commercialising the sector to improve food security, which Zimbabwean firms can take advantage of.

The country is also ranked fifth in Africa on ease of doing business rankings, with no forex controls and no restrictions on foreign business ownership.

“Botswana manufacturing industry is at its infancy and cannot support the envisioned growth in agriculture,” he said.

Other areas of opportunity within agriculture include animal feeds, seed, water pumps, irrigation pipes, tractors, fertilisers, insecticides, disc harrows, ploughs and pesticides.

Nkala said Zimbabweans could also take advantage of the existing bilateral relations with Botswana to increase exports into the neighbouring country.

The two countries have a preferential bilateral trade agreement which was ratified in 1988 and the agreement provides for reciprocal duty free trade on all products grown, wholly produced or manufactured wholly or partly from imported inputs subject to a 25 percent local content requirement.

Zimbabwe and Botswana are also both members of the SADC Trade Protocol, an agreement between SADC member states to reduce customs duties and other barriers to trade on products from each other.

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