Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) in partnership with FAO, with financial support from Italian Development Cooperation is implementing the regional project; Improving supply of safe and quality livestock and meat exported from the Horn of Africa to Middle East and North African (MENA) countries. The project has provisions  to support private and public sectors from IGAD member states to participate on the Gulf food fair (GFF) which happened from 21st to 25th February, 2016. Meat exporters and Ministry of trade government officials /external trade unit/participated.  The latter were supported for sustainability of coordination of promoting  the private sectors (livestock & non-livestock commodities) like Ethiopian Ministry of trade is doing  participated in the fair. The delegation was led by Dr. Solomon Munyua, Ag. Director and coordinated by Dr. Ameha Sebsibe, Head, Livestock and Fisheries.

The highlights observed and recommendations:

Companies from Australia, Newzealand, Brazil, USA, Ireland, India and other major exporting countries always search for customer requirements through speaking with suppliers worldwide to receive market information and upto the minute prices to ensure that their businesses are at the forefront in terms of price and other information. Companies produce their products based on customer requirements. They provide their suppliers on a continuous basis with market information specific to their business. The real time information gathering helps the companies to anticipate trends before they actually happen such as increasing/declining demand and prices to undertake mitigation measures where necessary.

Major meat exporting governments support formation of authorities or associations such as APEDA (Agricultural products Export Development Authority) -India, ApexBrasil- Brasil, MLA (Meat and Livestock Australia)- Australia, etc to support aggressive export marketing of their countries’ agricultural produce. The authorities or associations stimulate companies to work with innovation, design and sustainability so as to improve competitiveness on international markets, undertake innovative trade promotions in line with each sector, support trade mission to explore new markets  and promote private sector participation in international trade fairs among others.

IGAD/ICPALD also facilitated the participants to participate on the  Dubai chamber of commerce breakfast meeting. It was made clear that meat is the leading commodity being imported into Dubai currently. This is projected to increase looking at the projected population growth rate of 3% annually. The exporters got opportunity to interact with chamber members and share their promotional materials. Therefore, aggressive marketing strategy by IGAD member states and improved quality and hygiene processing standards will increase their share in the market. In addition, member states need to focus on proper breed selection and improved breeding technologies such as finishing the animals for quality products to enhance competitiveness and tap into the market. Additionally, IGAD MS should develop e-trade portal with the help of ICPALD. The portal should be uploaded with upto date market intelligence information and focus on more export market penetration and diversification.

Traders from IGAD MS had opportunities of visiting various pavilions, go-downs and met business magnets from around the globe for business scale-up and future linkages. They learned the need of promoting market intelligence and aggressive marketing strategies to expand  existing markets in addition to diversification. IGAD member states  need to utilize well the trade counselors and agents of companies  t stationed in the importing countries to ensure that their products are well promoted and linked with the markets. To this effect; IGAD/ICPALD is also organizing training for trading counselors of IGAD member states based in MENA

IGAD-ICPALD expresses appreciation to Italian Development Cooperation for financing this event.