from MARCUS MUSHONGA in Harare, Zimbabwe
HARARE, (CAJ News) – ZIMBABWE’s agricultural exports to China increased by more than 22 percent to $657 million (about R11,4 billion) over the past year.
This signifies a major recovery of the sector that had slumped from its breadbasket of Africa status as a result of successive droughts and sanctions imposed by the United States after land reforms.
The Chinese Embassy in Harare confirmed the increased volumes of Zimbabwe’s agricultural exports to the world’s second largest economy.
“China imported agricultural products worth US$657 million from Zimbabwe in 2022, up 22.64% Y-O-Y (Year-On-Year), which underlines China as a big market for Zimbabwean agricultural products, such as tobacco, macadamia nuts & cotton. Meanwhile, Zimbabwean farmers reap big from exports boom,” the embassy stated.
Zimbabweans reacted with excitement following the Chinese’s announcement.
Lindah Kapoya said: “Proof of win- win cooperation! Despite the vast distance between China and Zimbabwe, it has not hindered the fruitful trade relations.”
She noted China is currently Zimbabwe’s third biggest trade partner in the world.
“More is to be expected,” Kapoya projected.
Mike Madamombe said: “We knew it was a question of time before the resilient and hardworking Zimbabweans get rewarded.”
He added, “What is interesting is that the land is now being utilised by the country’s own indigenous black people, something propagandists thought would never happen.”
Zimbabwe lost its breadbasket status when then President Robert Mugabe (now late) embarked on the controversial land reform programme, which was spearheaded by the country’s former freedom fighters.
The United States (US) and its Western allies led by colonial master, Britain, have imposed sanctions in the 2000s but guised them as restrictions against human rights violations.
China was central to Zimbabwe’s policy to strengthen ties with Asia after souring relations with the West.
The current administration of President Emmerson Mnangagwa has prioritised the revival of agriculture as well as infrastructure development comprising energy, mining and manufacturing.
As other countries reliant on wheat imports from Russia and Ukraine reel from the impact of the war between the two nations, Zimbabwe had a bumper wheat harvest this season.
Zimbabwe is diversifying its agricultural sector, with tobacco the chief foreign currency earner.
– CAJ News