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Zambia's AGOA Manager Spells out the Country's Priorities

Published date:
Wednesday, 12 November 2003

Zambia's hope in the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) is in the horti- and floral culture sectors, AGOA Africa manager Moses Simemba said in an interview.

Mr Simemba said there was a big market for flowers from Zambia in the United States market and his desk had been pushing the Zambia Export Growers Association (ZEGA) to take advantage of the situation.

"Some AGOA members have taken advantage of the facility and have made huge export earnings from the US market," he said.

He cited Lesotho which had staggered its exports to about US$135 million and Mauritius with about US$150 million from the US market.

He intimated that ZEGA has, however, made strides in penetrating the US market through AGOA, but the only thing remaining was to obtain pest control clearance.

"We had a team of inspectors from the US in May who came to evaluate the types of pests we have in Zambia. This is the first country where these tests have been done and once issued with a pest clearance permit we are expecting overwhelming export returns from ZEGA. Already there have been orders made for cut flowers in readiness for Valentines, in addition to other orders earlier made amounting to about US$200 million" Mr Simemba said.

He said another Zambian sector that had already made headway in AGOA is the export of ready-made garments, especially African batiks by Zambian women.

Mr Simemba, however, lamented the failure by the gemstones and semi-precious stones industry to fully exploit AGOA because of serious inconsistencies in their operations.

Mr Simemba said gemstones and semi-precious miners have failed to utilise the links and usually conduct one-off businesses.

"The Asian market have taken advantage of this and normally buy from the local market for resale on the international market," he said.

Mr Simemba also said there was need for the gemstones industry in Zambia to create proper business links for them to gain reality export earnings by expertly packaging their products.

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