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The Netherlands is committed to the stabilisation and development of Zimbabwe’s agribusiness as a way of strengthening ties between the two countries, a diplomat has said.

Speaking at the launch of an agribusiness market study done by Brightface (Pvt) Ltd in Harare, Agriculture Counsellor at the Embassy of the Netherlands in Pretoria, Mr Niek Schelling said Zimbabwe had good opportunities for agribusiness.

“We commissioned Brightface (Pvt) Ltd to research on investments and trade opportunities for Dutch business in the agribusiness value chains in Zimbabwe,” Mr Schelling said.

He said the goals of the study were to inform Dutch business people about the state of affairs and prospects of agribusiness development in Zimbabwe and to identify, analyse and describe economic co-operation and investment opportunities.

He also said some companies in Zimbabwe had agreed to partner Dutch companies in development and exportation of organically grown beef from Zimbabwe and implementation of partnerships in organic agriculture production.

He said Zimbabwe was in the process of liberalising trade in line with the guidelines of the World Trade Organisation of which it is a member.

“Foreign countries are free to operate and invest in Zimbabwe since the Government has introduced the Indigenisation and Economic Act for foreigners to invest in certain sectors in a win-win situation that is 49 percent for foreigners and 51 percent for local companies,” he said.

He said Zimbabwe had a long agriculture tradition and experience adding that it was high time to accelerate rural development to improve food security.

He also said they hoped to provide technical assistance to resettlement farmers who benefited from the successful land reform in 2000 to make them more productive.

“We want to identify the gaps and shortcomings where the Dutch partnerships and investments can play a role in leasing of mobile mechanisation and processing equipment to the new farmers,” he added.

“For good reason, Zimbabwe was called the ‘breadbasket of Africa’ as it has good soils and is blessed with a well developed riverine system,” he said.

Mr Schelling said the country could once again be a major producer, processor and exporter of a wide variety of agricultural products.

Zimbabwe has a tax treaty with the Netherlands.

Source : The Herald