An organisation which facilitates international trade between Zimbabwean companies and foreign markets has revealed a new business opportunity to export sweet potatoes to the European Union.
Zimbabwe Trade (ZimTrade), in a monthly newsletter, says over the past five (5) years, the consumption of sweet potatoes has doubled in Europe.
“There is a growing attention in organically produced sweet potatoes, but the volume and export quality are relatively volatile due to the difficulties related to their production,” ZimTrade says.
“Zimbabwe has an opportunity to develop its exports of sweet potatoes in the EU market considering the rich soils and favorable climatic conditions allowing the sweet potatoes to be organically grown.”
The export-oriented organisation says the rising sweet potatoes demand has been influenced by the growing interest in organic, exotic and ethnic food in the EU.
“In 2018, the EU accounted for 51.2% of global imports of sweet potatoes,” reads the newsletter.
“Total imports of sweet potatoes by the European Union (EU) increased by 85% from US$156 million in 2014 to US$289 million in 2018.”
The value of sweet potatoes imported globally recorded an average annual growth of 66% from 2014 to 2018, increasing from US$338 million to US$562 million according to Trademap.
Zimtrade also says Zimbabwe sweet potato producers should meet the EU import requirements and standards if they are to penetrate the market.
The export requirements include food and health standards as well as packaging and labelling.
“Zimbabwean products entering the EU market enjoy free access under the interim Economic Partnership Agreement ratified under the Eastern and Southern Africa countries,” the organisation says.
“Local producers of sweet potatoes can fully utilise the duty-free quota- free access to the EU market for all qualifying products.”
Zimbabwe’s 2018 major export destinations in the EU were the United Kingdom, Netherlands, Lithuania, Spain, Portugal, France and Germany.
Top 2018 sweet potatoes importers in the EU include included United Kingdom (149,735 tonnes), Netherlands (126,858tonnes), Belgium (35,712 tonnes) and Germany (33,481 tonnes).