Enacy Mapakame Business Reporter
Zimbabwean manufacturers can tap into Botswana’s $6 billion import bill as the neighbouring country has abounding opportunities and is ready for Zimbabwean products, the country’s trade promotion body ZimTrade has revealed.
Opportunities available in Botswana include sectors such as processed foods, beverages and horticulture products. Currently, Zimbabwe constitutes only 0,2 percent of Botswana’s total processed foods and beverages imports which presents an opportunity for local manufacturers to expand the market share.
According to a market research by ZimTrade, Botswana, which has the second most developed retail sector in the region, imports 98 percent of fresh produce from South Africa, 1 percent from Netherlands and a paltry 0, 2 percent from Zimbabwe.
The country is dominated by a small number of firms, which control franchises or are strategic partners of retail transnationals. More than 90 percent of shelf space is occupied by South Africa brands. ZimTrade said this provides an opportunity for Zimbabwean products to increase their presence in Botswana.
“There are lots of opportunities for Zimbabwean products in Botswana right now that our manufacturers can take advantage of. The Botswana market is ready for Zimbabwean products and can expand on what we already export to that country. Most of the retailers there for instance Choppies, Spar, Pick n Pay directly import the majority of their produce and this is an opportunity for Zimbabwe to take advantage of,” said ZimTrade market information manager Annie Bake.
Botswana’s major imports in the processed foods and beverages segment include cane sugar, non-alcoholic beverages such as Mazoe orange crush, sunflower seed oil, fruit juices, milk and cream, beer, yoghurt, sweets and biscuits, soups, black fermented tea, margarine and cheese.
While the opportunities for such products and others in the construction industry remain available for Zimbabwe, there is still need for increasing quality standards, especially for the emerging small to medium enterprises as well as competitive.
ZimTrade research also shows Zimbabwean products are not price competitive as they are more expensive due to use of the United States dollar, which is stronger than other regional currencies.
“The Botswana market is confident of our products and their quality which is a good thing for our manufacturers. The main challenge with Zimbabwean products will be on pricing, but the export incentives should help offset that,” said ZimTrade regional manager Similo Nkala.
On average, 2 litres of Zimbabwean cooking oil costs $3,29 against Botswana’s $2,91, while 410 grammes of locally manufactured baked beans costs $1 against 72 cents in the neighbouring country. A litre of fresh milk and 2 litres of ice cream by Zimbabwean manufacturers cost $1,39 and $4,79 respectively while the same costs $1,14 and $3,14 in Botswana. However, the average cost of 400 grammes peanut butter in Zimbabwe is lower 32 cents lower than in Botswana.