Zim on cusp of commencing stone fruits exports
GOVERNMENT has announced plans to begin stone fruit exports to South Africa this year amid revelations that containers of the fruits are being readied with the Plant Quarantine Services Institute already working on the protocol.
Head of the Plant Quarantine Services Institute under the Ministry of Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water and Rural Development Mr Nhamo Mudada said the country secured the phytosanitary protocol for the commodities in July this year. Stone fruits include prunus species such as peaches, plums and nectarines.
“We are looking forward to export some containers this year and this will be followed by more exports of apples to Kenya as well but that will be next year. We are currently working on the protocol to start exporting them to the East African country,” he observed.
Mr Mudada added that crop produce needed to be checked for pests of plant Biosecurity concern such as Bactocera dorsali.
Additionally, Mr Mudada revealed that the country was also working on other export protocols that would also enable exports of citrus fruits to European Union (EU) markets. The country is currently exporting citrus fruits to Asian markets.
“When we check commodities before exporting we will be looking for adherence to global standards as well as adherence to International Plant Protection Convention protocols on phytosanitary and plant Biosecurity concerns,” said Mr Mudada.
He further revealed that Zimbabwe regularly conducted bilateral engagements with trading partners with the institute offering phytosanitary certificates for exports in accordance to their phytosanitary requirements.
“We update trade partners, both regional and international, on any changes in phytosanitary regulations, pest status and the plant quarantine operation structure. We also collaborate and exchange information regarding quarantine pests. The country is a member of the International Plant Protection Convention and this requires us to share pest surveillance data with neighbours and trade partners,” he said.
Regionally, Zimbabwe shares expertise on disease and pest control and market intelligence while collaborating in matters to do with training and capacity building with other member states.
More often, the country works glove in hand with Botswana, Namibia, Zambia, Mozambique, Malawi, South Africa and Kenya to name a few.
In terms of blocs, Zimbabwe interacts actively with SADC, COMESA, the African Union Inter-African Phytosanitary Council (AU) and the International Plant Protection Convention (IPPC), further explained Mr Mudada.
Countries observe phytosanitary measures to ensure consumers are being supplied with food that is safe to eat as set out in the basic rules on food safety and animal and plant health standards that governments are required to follow.