By JOHN SAKALA
Zambia was one of the 50 countries that participated at the 2019 MACFRUT Expo in Rimini, Italy from the 8th to 10th May, 2019.
The Zambian delegation comprising Government officials and private sector was led by the Ministry of Commerce, Trade and Industry and the Zambia Development Agency.
The Expowas themed “Italy-Africa: a Renewed Partnership for Horticultural and Agro Industrial Development. ’’
The Expo provided a platform for continental and global players in fruit and vegetable sector to showcase goods and services as well as the innovation and technology in this industry.
MACFRUT Expo attracted over 3000companies from different parts of the world who came together for to trade, exchange business ideas, understand better the fruit and vegetable market and sign export deals. Zambia was represented by 7 Companies mostly small and medium enterprises (SMEs) that produce the honey, avocados, moringa, water melons, sweet potatoes, dried mangoes, pineapples and cashew nuts.
“Zambia could not afford to ignore the MACFRUT 2019 expo because it provided an opportunity to show our local products and market access for increasing our exports especially into the European Union market that boasts of a human population of over 743 million and also to see the increased innovations and technology employed.
“Further, the European Union is one of the huge markets today where Africa could be guaranteed of a market for fruits and vegetables,” said Kayula Siame, Permanent Secretary Ministry of Commerce, Trade and Industry.
“The European market is demanding for products such as from honey, sweet potatoes, Moringa, ground nuts, and pineapples, Cashew nuts from Zambia. This is a great opportunity for the private sector and the economy of Zambia to earn foreign currency through Non Traditional Exports (NTEs) as part of the diversification Agenda,” explained Ms Siame.
The Seven Zambian Companies that participated clichéd order of over USD 20 million for moringa powder and leaves, ground nuts, sweet potatoes, dried mangoes, ground nuts, pineapple and avocado seedlings. This is a great achievement for Zambian business and the economy of Zambia in general. We are optimistic that opportunities being offered by the Expo will help stimulate value addition processing and contribute to accelerating the country’s industrialization agenda.
In addition, a partnership with the European- Africa-Caribbean- Pacific Liaison Committee (COLEACP) was created under their FitFor Market (FFM) programme.
COLEACP has since pledged to come to Zambia and support the aforesaid agribusiness in various areas within the fruits and vegetables value chain.
COLEACP will also facilitate the acquisition of key certificates required for exporting into the European Union such as Global Gap and Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point (HACCP) certificates.
Further, the Zambia Women in Agriculture Cooperative Society (ZWACS) Initialed business talks for possible joint venture with an Italian firm with a view of supplying seedlings. Opportunities such as these will help stimulate value addition, processing and contribute to accelerating the country’s’ industrialization agenda.
“I would like to reaffirm that the 2019 MACFRUT EXPO was a success and all our expectations were met given the business gains recorded. Going forward, we would like to urge the businesses to take expo and trade investment promotion events of this nature very seriously because such platforms assist companies to better understand the global markets, discover new markets and build business networks.
“The Ministry with its Agencies such as the Zambia Development Agency will continue encouraging and supporting businesses to enable them participate in Expos at national, regional and international levels,” she said.
This is according to a media statement made available by Ministry of Commerce, Trade and Industry Public Relations Officer Godfrida Chanda-Chisala.