Africa, Processing, fries, chips, Seed, Trade/Markets/Prices

Potato industry in Zimbabwe seeking new markets, contemplating processing potential

Zimbabwe’s potato industry says it is now eyeing the export market for both raw potatoes and potato crisps as it has saturated the local market. Potato Industry of Zimbabwe chair Ronald Museka said for the past six years the sector had expanded by about 1000% and is now exploring new markets.

“We also have processing companies that have come to us in the past three years. I am glad to say that for the past six months, we have not imported anything. If the figures from the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe are anything to go by, I am sure they will confirm that,”Museka said.

After regional countries have stopped importing raw potatoes, Museka said producers were now scouting for new export markets.

“Generally, in our region most countries have come up with rules and regulations to try and stop imports of raw potatoes – that’s the challenge we have. So we are hoping we will be able to get to other countries such as the Democratic Republic of Congo and so on, who are still open for that,” he said.

He noted the need for diversification and value addition among manufacturing companies such as Cairns and Hanawa that produce potato crisps.

“Then we talk about processors; the production of crisps. We are going to be approaching the ministry to try and seek help. At the moment, we have two companies doing crisps. I want to say both companies are looking at exporting their crisps into the region,” he said.

To combat the imports of seed potatoes from South Africa, Zimbabwe incurs a $4 million bill annually on seed potato imports from that country.

“We are basically importing seed from South Africa, grow it directly for the market and that is a problem that is going to consume a lot of our foreign currency. There, I think it’s an issue of policy intervention,” he said.

Read the full story on Zimbabwean based News Day

Editor & Publisher: Lukie Pieterse


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