via Russia eyes Zim’s agricultural sector 08/12/2014
A visiting Russian trade delegation has expressed interest in importing agricultural produce from Zimbabwe as the eastern European powerhouse seeks to establish new commodities markets in the wake of Western imposed trade sanctions.
Russia already has local business interests in the mining sector.
Head of the delegation Igo Avakumo told journalists on Monday ahead of a meeting with agriculture minister, Joseph Made, that trade sanctions by the European Union and United States had propelled Russia to turn to Latin America, Asia and Africa for agricultural produce.
Before the sanctions, Russia’s food imports from the EU and the US accounted for over $40 million annually.
Avakumo said Russia’s need for citrus fruits would create business opportunity for Zimbabwe.
“Imports of citrus fruits will be of interest to us as we don’t have much of that in our country. We have been producing them in greenhouses but the high energy demand for greenhouses makes it expensive,” Avakumo said.
“We are also proposing to establish a genetic selection centre in Zimbabwe which would supply Russia with high quality seeds particularly vegetables and potatoes.”
Made said in exchange Zimbabwe was also seeking credit loans for local farmers from the eastern European powerhouse.
“We would like to study your credit finance structure that has enabled you to meet your grain requirements. We would like to understand the nature and structure of subsidies because that is where the crux of the matter is in terms of sustaining the farmers,” he said.
In September, the two countries signed several agreements to develop a $3 billion platinum project in Darwendale near Harare.