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Zimbabwe emerges as global leader in blueberry exports

todayNovember 28, 2023 9

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In a noteworthy development, Zimbabwe is making strides in reclaiming its status as Africa’s breadbasket, with a recent report by East Fruit Analyst highlighting a remarkable increase in blueberry exports. Contrary to prevailing challenges, this positive trend shows a potential economic turnaround for the country.

According to the East Fruit Analyst report, Zimbabwe has outpaced global competitors in blueberry exports, experiencing an impressive 63% annual growth over the past five years. In 2022 alone, the country witnessed an 85% increase in blueberry exports, propelling it into the top 15 nations globally for such exports and surpassing Serbia in volume. According to the BBC, key markets for Zimbabwean blueberries include South Africa, European Union countries, the UK, Russia, and the Middle East.

Will Zimbabwe regain its status as Africa’s breadbasket?

Citing a UN Food and Agriculture Organization official, East Fruit Analyst noted, “Zimbabwe’s phenomenal growth in blueberry exports is a testament to its agricultural resilience.” The news has been met with enthusiasm by the Zimbabwean media, with the state-owned Herald declaring it as compelling evidence of the country’s return to its status as a breadbasket.

Despite the well-documented economic challenges, agriculture continues to be a major contributor to Zimbabwe’s GDP, constituting 18% as of 2015. Corn (maize) stands as the primary food crop, with additional crops including wheat, millet, sorghum, barley, cassava, peanuts (groundnuts), soybeans, bananas, and oranges.

Zimbabwe’s tobacco sector, historically a cornerstone of its agricultural exports and foreign exchange earnings, may now find competition from the booming blueberry industry. Tobacco farming accounted for 11% of Zimbabwe’s GDP in 2017, supporting the livelihoods of three million people in a country of 16 million.

The recent success in blueberry exports underscores Zimbabwe’s potential to diversify its agricultural portfolio and stimulate economic growth. As the country navigates these positive developments, the global, and Southern African Development Community watches with interest, hopeful for a sustained and inclusive economic recovery.

Written by: Tonata Kadhila

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