Edgar Vhera — Zimbabwe is set to commence beef exports to the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) in September with clustered cattle farmers expected to bulk up their produce to meet the 30-tonne-monthly requirement.
The Agricultural Marketing Authority (AMA) chief executive officer Mr Clever Isaya revealed this yesterday when he explained the contents of a recent twitter post titled ‘AMA secures beef export market in DRC.’
“The country will start beef exports to DRC next month after recent engagements between local farmers and prospective customers. The market requires 30 tonnes of super and choice grade meat per month,” said the AMA boss.
AMA has grouped commercial livestock farmers into clusters with five groups having been established to date. Each cluster will have more than 1 000 cattle. The purpose of these clusters is to amass slaughtered carcasses to sustain and ensure constant supply of the required quantity of meat to the market.
Mr Isaya said local farmers were finalising logistics for successful beef meet exports to the market.
“The beef cuts are retailing at prices between US$15 and US$20 per kilogramme in DRC and local suppliers have held discussions with their customers in DRC on the wholesale prices that have since emerged to be good,” he said.
In July this year AMA, ZimTrade and farmers in the poultry, beef, horticulture and dairy value chains went on a business trip to DRC as a follow up to the one done in 2021. Its main purpose was to gather more market intelligence and facilitate business to business engagements.
The specific objectives were to generate export orders, understand the market dynamics of DRC, create synergy opportunities and engage the Kinshasa market to understand its needs.
The delegation was informed that most of the beef products were imported from South Africa, Zambia, India, New Zealand and Belgium. The delegation discovered that there was a huge opportunity for Zimbabwean products in light of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), which seeks to promote intra-African trade.
The ZimTrade mission report said prospective investors must be aware of beef market characteristics that require product differentiation and market segmentation.
“The Kinshasa market varies in nature and consists of the high-income and low-income earners. These classes determine the price, quality, quantity of products demanded by each market. For the high-income market, price was not a major factor, as focus is on quality and place. But the opposite can be said about the low-income market, which was price-sensitive and focusses on having more quantity from less spending,” said the report.
The opening of the DRC market will bring relief to local cattle farmers who have always been complaining that they are being short-changed by buyers who purchase their beasts at the third-tier grade of commercial beef irrespective of the animal’s body condition. The export market requires the first two grades of super and choice.