Zim companies to participate at Africa food, beverages trade event

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AT least seven Zimbabwean companies, drawn from the horticulture and processed foods sectors will participate in the Africa’s Big Seven (AB7) to be held in South Africa later this month.

BUSINESS REPORTER

The event will be held at the Gallagher Convention Centre in Midrand from June 21 to 23.

AB7 is Africa’s largest annual food and beverage industry trade event, which is held concurrently with the Southern Africa International Trade Exhibition.

In a statement yesterday, ZimTrade said the event comprised seven specialised sectors — fresh produce and ingredients, manufacturing technologies, processing and packaging equipment, retail ready products, hospitality, retail and international catering.

“Zimbabwean companies will showcase a wide variety of products comprising fresh fruit and vegetables, honey, confectionary products, fresh fruit juices, organic spices, herbs, herbal teas, dried fruits and condiments, among others,” ZimTrade said.

“They will utilise the opportunity to observe and analyse trends and innovations within the food value chain as this would provide insight on how to be competitive on the international market.”
According to ZimTrade, in 2014, AB7 attracted 225 exhibitors from 35 countries while 8 642 visitors from 44 countries were registered for the event. This year, over 14 000 visitors from 45 countries are expected to attend.

According to Trade Map in 2014, total exports of fresh fruits and vegetable products amounted to $17,7 million.

At its peak in 1999, the horticulture sector was Zimbabwe’s second-largest foreign currency earner after tobacco, contributing an average 4% to gross domestic product.

Annually, it contributed revenue of $142 million in 1999, but the sector is facing a number of challenges, which have contributed to the decline in exports.

The country exported about 85% of its flowers to the Netherlands, while about 90% of the total fresh vegetables landed in Britain, South Africa, Zambia and Namibia and 80% of fruits were consumed by British and South African markets.

The processed food and beverages sector remains a key component of Zimbabwe’s economy.

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