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Qatar offers fresh market for Zimbabwe products

by Staff reporter
31 Aug 2021 at 06:07hrs | Views
LOCAL exporters should take advantage of the direct flights between Zimbabwe and Qatar to tap into the US$25,8 billion Western Asian market. Early this month, Qatar Airways announced the introduction of direct flights between the two countries.

This presents lucrative trade opportunities for local companies, the country's trade development and promotion organisation, ZimTrade, has said.

"According to Trade Map, Qatar imported products worth around US$25,8 billion in 2020 and major supplying countries were United States of America, China, United Kingdom, Germany, India, Italy and Turkey.

"As Zimbabwe seeks to diversify its export markets, envisioned in the National Export Strategy — launched by President Mnangagwa in 2019 — Qatar presents a promising market for locally produced products and services," said the trade agency.

ZimTrade said the successes recorded under the "Zimbabwe is open for business" agenda, which include the introduction of direct flights between Harare and Doha, would make it easy for local exporters to connect with buyers, as well as make it faster to land products in the market.

As movement of persons is a crucial enabler of increased businesses, ZimTrade said Zimbabwean sellers will now find it easy and cheaper to connect with potential buyers in Qatar and this would go a long way in improving              buyers' confidence in local products.

"Considering the position of Qatar as an airline hub, local exporters will also find it easy to connect with the rest of the Gulf Cooperation Council, which are important markets for Zimbabwe's products such as horticultural produce," it said. Zimbabwean exporters used to incur huge costs of flying goods through connecting multiple flights and such costs can now be reduced.

ZimTrade said it is now crucial for local exporters to understand the import structure of Qatar and requirements for landing products into that market. For instance, Qatar is classified as a high-income country and has one of the world's highest per capita income countries, indicating a high-spending power for the population.

The economy of that country is largely dependent on oils and gas, which has created room for large imports of most products across all sectors. "Of the top imported products in Qatar, Zimbabwean exporters have an opportunity to supply an array of products in sectors such as horticulture, household and furniture products, meat, essential oils, and pharmaceuticals.

"Supply of fruits and nuts is one of the low-hanging fruits for local farmers, who can tap into the US$308 million import value recorded last year," said ZimTrade. It noted that local farmers could ride on Zimbabwe's reputation as the source of quality products. Zimbabwe has in abundance pineapples, avocados, guavas, mangoes, dates, and figs which have a ready market in Qatar.

Apart from fruit and nuts, there is a viable market for edible vegetables and certain roots and tubers whose total import figure in 2020 was US$239 million. Some of the top imported vegetables include onions, shallots, garlic, leeks and other alliaceous vegetables.

The local agricultural sector that is undergoing massive transformation, is expected to  produce surplus to export to countries such as Qatar.

"There is also a high demand for household furniture in Qatar, including beds, mattresses, lamps and lighting fittings.

"In 2020 alone, according to Trade Map, Qatar imported unspecified furniture products worth US$246,9 million," said ZimTrade. During the same year, the Qatar market imported lamps and lighting fittings worth around US$155 million and seats worth US$146 million. Mattress support and medical furniture imports into that country were worth US$36 million and US$23 million respectively.

"As Qatar is a high-income country, the market has a taste for high-end products. Thus, local furniture producers will need to focus on unique and modern designs that will compete against competition.

"Functional art in the form of furniture will also make it easy for local producers to secure a market in the sector," said ZimTrade.

"Considering that furniture products are bulk in nature and will require ocean freight, local manufacturers must produce collapsible modular designs that can be easily assembled at the final market or by the end user at their home."

Essential oils and resinoids used in perfumery, cosmetic or toilet preparations are some of the products that can be easily transported by air and small enterprises are expected to take advantage of this. ZimTrade said small-holder farmers could produce flowers, fruits, herbs, resins and wood oils which have a big market in Qatar.

In Zimbabwe, there is a growing trend of companies that are value adding wild plants to produce high-end products and there is potential for establishing oil extraction businesses that targets Qatar as a market for locally-produced essential oils.

"In addition, there is a promising market for sheep, goat and fowl meat," said the agency.

"Last years, Qatar imported sheep and goat meat worth around US$198 million and fowl meat worth around US$191 million.

"Production and exportation of sheep and goat meat is one area that has not been explored by Zimbabwean farmers yet it has great potential."

ZimTrade also said local pharmaceutical companies can tap into the Qatar market whose import value was around US$728 million in 2020, up from US$576 million in 2016.

"Top pharmaceutical products imported last year where medicaments consisting of mixed or unmixed products for therapeutic or prophylactic uses," said ZimTrade.

Source - chronicle