China has scope to consume more agricultural produce from Zimbabwe and provide a lucrative market for one of the country’s key economic sectors.

The world’s most populous nation presently has a responsibility to feed more than 1,4 billion people.

China, which already imports the bulk of the country’s tobacco, is particularly interested in increasing cotton imports from Zimbabwe, as well as horticultural products such as citrus fruits, tomatoes and avocadoes, among other commodities.

Discussions are presently underway to make Beijing the prime market for Zimbabwe’s citrus products.

In a speech made in China, Zanu-PF Chairperson Cde Oppah Muchinguri-Kashiri who led a 13-member delegation of senior party officials on an exchange visit with the Communist Party of China (CPC) said the world’s second-largest economy is keen on more goods from Zimbabwe.

“One of the most important outcomes of the visit was that we learnt of the many business opportunities that are available between the two countries.

“China said it is very impressed with tomatoes that are produced in Zimbabwe. They are eager to import our tomatoes, and what is good about the Chinese is that they have a huge market.

“We are happy that our cotton is finding its way into China.

“We want China’s companies to invest in the textile industry so that there can be value addition and benefaction of the raw cotton that you are already importing,” she said.

Other potential areas of cooperation, she added, include exports of beef, citrus, avocado, as well as minerals.

During the Zanu-PF delegation’s visit to Qingdao, the city’s authorities said they are eager to boost trade with Zimbabwe in line with the Asian giant’s signature foreign economic policy programme, the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI).

Qingdao is one of China’s richest cities and its strategic coastal location makes it a hub of maritime trading with the rest of the world.

China has identified Zimbabwe as one of its partners under BRI, raising prospects for lucrative trade relations.

Qingdao CPC municipal committee deputy secretary Mr Niu Junxian told Zanu-PF delegates that the province has one of the largest trade volumes in the world, which Zimbabwe could benefit from.

“This visit by the national chair (Cde Muchinguri-Kashiri) will push forward our friendship to new heights. It will also push further our people-to-people relations. We will capitalise on this opportunity to expand the existing cooperation.

“We want to see more enterprises investing in Zimbabwe, particularly in agriculture and manufacturing, so that new heights can be scaled.

“There is great scope for cooperation between Zimbabwe and Qingdao.

“Qingdao was part of the old maritime Silk Road and it is one of the most prosperous cities in the maritime sector the world over. It is connected with China’s major industries such as manufacturing, electronic, mechanical and laboratories.”

Mr Niu said in the first quarter of 2019, trade between Qingdao and Zimbabwe had grown by 164 percent.

“Last year, exports from Zimbabwe to Qingdao were $4, 7 million. But for the first quarter of this year’s trade, it is over $3 million. There is a growth of 164 percent, which shows a healthy momentum.”

Editor’s note: The article reflects the author’s opinion only, and not necessarily the views of editorial opinion of Belt & Road News.