UAE’s most popular city Dubai is one of the fastest-growing economic hubs in the world.
Dubai is an upper-middle-class income city dominated by a working-class population that has a high marginal propensity to spend and consume.
Emphasis is on quality and taste preference, offering further opportunities for local producers that are known for high-quality products.
Horticultural produce offer viable options for Zimbabwe to increase exports to UAE, whose total import bill of horticultural products topped US$3 billion in 2018, according to Trade Map, an online portal that tracks world trade.
As Dubai is generally a dry city in the middle of the desert, it spends a lot of money on fruits, vegetables, and meat products, thereby presenting opportunities for Zimbabwean products.
Most of the horticultural produce consumed there, including in hotels and restaurants, are imports.
Low-hanging export options available for exploitation by farmers and local businesses include oranges, grapes, pears, avocados, potatoes, shelled chickpeas, guavas, mangoes, stone fruits, tomatoes, strawberries, and fresh-cut roses and buds.
These products are already in demand and local farmers have the capacity to produce them.
Current food exports from Zimbabwe to Dubai include strawberries, blackberries, gooseberries, black fermented tea, and fresh and dried fruits.
Other low-hanging horticultural produce that can be exported to Dubai include tea and coffee.
Green tea consumption is growing, and coffee processing is increasing in the city, which is expected to grow demand for coffee in 2020 going forward.
Some of the farming taking place in Dubai is done under controlled environments such as glasshouses.
Therefore there is room to export organic fresh produce, which is considered healthy and tasty superfoods.
Zimbabwe’s large arable land and favorable climatic conditions are underutilized resources that local farmers and exporters should take advantage of to increase the country’s contribution to Dubai’s horticultural imports.
Further, local exporters can take advantage of Zimbabwe’s unique supply window to Dubai, which is similar to what it enjoys with Europe for most horticultural produce.