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Zest for Success: Zimbabwe’s First Citrus Shipment Reaches China

October 15, 2023

According to Zimbabwe’s Plant Quarantine Services Institute, the country’s citrus exports to China have now commenced, with 12 containers having already reached the Chinese market and 34 more containers still in transit. As specified by the PQSI head, Nhamo Mudada, the initial batches were composed entirely of oranges.

“The pilot phase of the citrus exports to China began in August with containers of oranges from the Beitbridge area being shipped via the Port of Durban. To date we have issued phytosanitary certificates to export 46 containers of oranges to China with each container averaging 24 tonnes,” stated Mudada.

The first consignment to the Chinese market was handled through the Port of Durban in South Africa, with future plans, however, to shift to the Port of Beira in Mozambique, which offers a shorter route and faster transit time. At present, the Port of Beira lacks cold storage facilities that meet the requirements of Chinese authorities.

Considering the landlocked nature of Zimbabwe, the General Administration of Customs of China has permitted the cold treatment of fruit in transit, including at ports in third countries. As mentioned by the CEO of Zimbabwe’s Horticultural Development Council, Linda Nielsen, the industry would consider shipping fruit to China via Mozambique only when the temperature-controlled storage facilities there meet the GACC’s standards.

According to the Zimbabwe National Statistics Agency, the country’s citrus exports generated $12.15 million in revenue in 2022, a 64% increase from 2017. The export volume rose by 46% over the same period, hitting 70,000 metric tons last year. In addition to fresh citrus fruit, Zimbabwe exports dried citrus fruit, citrus peel and orange juice, the majority of which is bound for European and African markets. With the opening of the Chinese market, the industry anticipates earnings to rise further this year.

To better meet China’s market demand, Zimbabwe’s citrus sector has begun expanding its planting area by establishing new orchards in the district of Chegutu in the central northern part of the country. The annual export quota determined through mutual agreement with Chinese contacts is currently set at 50,000 metric tons.

Zimbabwean fresh citrus fruits permitted for export to China include sweet oranges (Citrus sinensis), mandarins (Citrus reticulata), grapefruit (Citrus paradisi), lemons (Citrus limon), limes (Citrus aurantifolia) and bitter oranges (Citrus aurantium). Access to the Chinese market for these items was approved by the GACC on July 1, 2022, with the list of authorized orchards and packaging facilities released on June 1 of this year.

Image: Pixabay

This article was based on a Chinese article. Read the original article.

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