ZIMBABWE – Zimbabwe has confirmed its plans to begin stone fruit exports to South Africa this year with the Plant Quarantine Services Institute working on the protocol.

Stone fruits to be exported include prunus species such as peaches, plums and nectarines.

This news follows the recent market revelation of the institute’s involvement in readying the fruits’ export containers.

The Plant Quarantine Service Institute plays three fundamental roles in Zimbabwe’s fresh produce export sector including: control of movement of plant and plant products into and out of Zimbabwe, enforcement of cotton, tobacco and paprika destruction dates, and nursery inspections and field inspections for seed (maize & soya) production for export.

Head of the Plant Quarantine Services Institute under the Ministry of Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water and Rural Development Mr Nhamo Mudada announced that the country secured the phytosanitary protocol for the commodities in July this year.

“We are looking forward to exporting some containers this year and this will be followed by more exports of apples to Kenya as well but that will be next year. We are currently working on the protocol to start exporting them to the East African country,” he added.

Mr. Mudada further emphasized the need to have the fresh produce checked for pests or plant Biosecurity concerns such as Bactocera dorsali.

He went on to add that Zimbabwe is also working on other export protocols that would enable exports of citrus fruits to European Union (EU) market.

This move would be an addition to the country’s export market as it is currently exporting citrus fruits to Asian markets.

“When we check commodities before exporting, we will be looking for adherence to global standards as well as adherence to International Plant Protection Convention protocols on phytosanitary and plant Biosecurity concerns,” explained Mr Mudada.

It was further divulged that Zimbabwe is conducting ongoing bilateral engagements with trading partners along with the institute offering phytosanitary certificates for exports to ascertain their phytosanitary requirements.

He mentioned that the country endeavors to update trade partners, both regional and international, on any changes in phytosanitary regulations, pest status and the plant quarantine operation structure.

Consistent with the dialogue, Zimbabwe being a member of the International Plant Protection Convention also collaborates and exchanges information regarding quarantine pests and this requires them to share pest surveillance data with neighbors and trade partners.

Zimbabwe also shares expertise on disease and pest control and market intelligence while collaborating in matters to do with training and capacity building with other member states on regional levels.

In most cases, the country collaborates with different countries like Botswana, Namibia, Zambia, Mozambique, Malawi, South Africa, and Kenya just to list a few.

Mudada further explained that the country’s collaboration efforts are also directed to blocs including SADC, COMESA, the African Union Inter-African Phytosanitary Council (AU) and the International Plant Protection Convention (IPPC).

Phytosanitary measures are crucial for ensuring countries supply safe fresh produce to their consumers by outlining basic rules on food safety and animal and plant health standards that a country should adhere to.

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