Roberta Katunga, Senior Business Reporter
SIX Small to Medium Enterprises drawn from ZimTrade’s Marketing and Branding for International Competitiveness training programme will exhibit at this year’s Zimbabwe International Trade Fair under the trade promoting organisation’s banner.
Last year, the same number of companies exhibited under the ZimTrade banner.
According to ZimTrade, the companies drawn from the clothing and textiles, leather products and footwear, engineering and processed foods sectors have already graduated in the MBIC programme.
“The targeted SMEs are export ready and the objective of facilitating them (to exhibit) is to further develop and nurture them into viable export entities,” said ZimTrade in a statement.
This year’s edition of the ZITF will be held from 26 to 30 April under the theme: Innovate, Integrate, Industrialise, which builds on last year’s emphasis on seizing opportunities to accelerate growth.
ZimTrade said it would also capitalise on the exhibition to disseminate information on its calendar of events including Export Promotions events for 2016, Marketing and Branding for International Competitiveness Programme and its revamped Trade Information Centre which houses the ZIM-EU Business Information Centre.
The organisation said it was focused on capacitating SMEs with requisite market and product specific intelligence to penetrate export markets.
“SMEs have also been exposed to regional trade fairs as part of our export promotion programmes and trade fairs,” said ZimTrade.
Foreign exhibitors at this years’ exhibition will include companies from, South Africa, China, India, Indonesia, Iran, Germany, Kenya, Namibia, Cyprus, Malawi, Mozambique, Russia and Pakistan.
Meanwhile, ZimTrade released statistics to show a growing demand for the country’s fresh fruit sector in the European Union.
According to the statistics, demand for avocados increased by 45 percent from $760 million in 2011 to $1,1 billion in 2014.
The figures show that exports of avocado have increased by 400 percent from US$177 000 in 2012 to US$710 000 in 2014, driven mainly by large scale avocado producers from plantations in the Manicaland Province.
“Avocado producers must meet the minimum EU technical requirements that protect consumers. These requirements are classified according to product safety, technical standardisation, packaging and labelling.
ZimTrade is urging local companies to utilise the Zimbabwe-European Union Business Information Centre (Zim-EUBIC) to obtain valuable information on the EU market.”
Additionally, the organisation identified a gap for local companies in the pharmaceuticals in the Zambian market.
“The increase of the national healthcare budget by 72 percent from 2012 to 2015 shows that the Zambian government is prioritising the health sector. Zambia’s imports of pharmaceuticals have also been on an upward trend since 2010. They increased by over 90 percent from US$115 million in 2010 to US$220 million in 2014.”