By Triader Chipunza
The year 2022 has marked a second consecutive period that Zimbabwe has showcased its horticultural products at the Macfrut Fruit and Vegetable professional expo held in Italy recently.
This transpired from the 4th-6th of May with the Rural Enterprise Development Trust(REDT) as the delegate.
In an interview with the chairman of the (REDT), Joseph Israel Thompson, the purpose of the expo was to exhibit and seek markets for rural produce as well as gaining partnership with regards to rural development.
“The Macfrut 2022 has provided our producers a great opportunity to showcase their products to Italy and the world, asthe expo has drawn thousands of people from all over the world to the venue.”
‘We have seen ten amazing proudly Zimbabwean suppliers showcase their products which has been met with great thrill by Italian and international customers,’said Thompson.
Macfrut as one of the largest horticultural fairs for fresh produce and agriculture takes place annually in Remni, a farming region in Italy where a large number of Italian and foreign companies participate. This involves a wide range of activities which are aimed at promoting innovation and internationalization, a feature that make it a key event for professionals and buyers.
“This is of major importance to us in Zimbabwe as it allows us to increase our export trade with the world, ensuring that we close our trade imbalance,’ said Thompson.
Macfrut as a vertical exhibition represents the entire supply chain with about eight sectors involved which include Production and Trade, Machinery and Plants, Packaging, Agricultural Machinery, Greenhouse and Irrigation Systems, Nursery and Seeds, Biostimulants as well as Logistics and Services.
This has enhanced opportunities for visitors, with Zimbabwe included this time to have B2B meetings with exhibitors, high-level meetings and conferences, dynamic areas and so forth. Assuch, the Ministry of Lands,Agriculture,Fisheries,Water and Rural Development has been made to develop an efficient, competitive and sustainable agricultural sector, ensuring food security and increased incomes at both household and national levels.
The Italian Minister of Agriculture emphasized on his government to increase trade with African Nation States, henceZimbabwe is looking forward to take up on the opportunity at hand.
‘During a side meeting I had with the President of Mac fruit and a Director from the Italian Trade Agency, we are expecting as a country to host a delegation from Italy pre mid-May. Themessage highlighted that our produce as Zimbabwe is highly sought after,’ said Thompson.
This horticulture sector has thus proved to be crucial to rural and economic development currently contributing over US$77 million to export revenue and employs over 18,700 people. Theproducts on display have been value added, which is in line with the Horticulture Recovery and Growth Plans which aims at maximizing the benefit of agricultural produce to the nation.
“I am proud to say that our products are of world class quality. Having visited all Nation Stands, it is clear that Zimbabwe is a huge force to reckon with-in the horticultural space.’ addedThompson.
Zimbabwe had a delegation who was an exhibitor of Moringa,as well as the other two members who had a liability on fact finding, interaction with farmers, market look out for local farmers as well as participation in areas of co-operation and partnership with the Italian farmers.
In line with the mantra that ,`Zimbabwe is open for business,’the chairman Thompson appreciated Zimtrade,on its persistence in getting REDT to the expo as well as the exhibitors who were delegations in putting the country on the world map.