South African businesspeople who participated in the Gulfood Exhibition that took place in Dubai, United Arab Emirates last week, have said they are pleased with the trade leads that they generated.
They recorded over 4 000 promising trade leads that they hope will soon translate into substantially tangible deals.
The 16 agro-processing companies, including the South African Fruit and Vegetables Canners Export Council (SAFVEC), showcased their products in a National Pavilion that was set up by the Department of Trade, Industry and Competition (the dtic).
The main objective of the support provided by the dtic through the Export Marketing and Investment Assistance scheme (EMIA) was to create a platform for these companies to develop export markets for their products.
The Founder of Makhamisa Foods and a Black Industrialists Programme beneficiary, Terence Leluma, was part of the SA delegation.
Leluma, who manufactures unique chilli-based condiments, said his company’s products received huge interest from countries such as Russia, Iran, Saudi Arabia, the UAE, India and African countries such as Malawi and Kenya.
“The UAE market received our products well and believe our products deserve to be on the global food industry platform. We met a number of prospective clients and secured strong leads. We will be back for follow-up meetings in a month or two,” Leluma said.
“We are excited to have forged these relations. Dubai is the centre of trade and I am honoured to have been offered the opportunity to fly the South African flag high in this part of the world and take our products to the global market.”
The Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Naturezone, that produces fitness waters and herbal teas from natural ingredients with zero calories, Peter Foulis, described his participation in the show as remarkable.
“We have received quality enquiries and leads. We are expecting great things to follow as we follow up on these leads. We appointed three agents at the show for UAE, Russia and India. Our neighbouring countries Zimbabwe, Mozambique and Zambia have also shown interest in our drinks,” Foulis said.
The Project Manager of RFG Foods, the manufacturers of canned fruits and vegetables and juices, Thasha Thaver, said her stand received hundreds of visitors with a lot of interest from the Middle East and Africa.
“Some existing customers came to look for new products that we have introduced. It was a great week. We have seen the value of attending the show. Being present at the trade shows has improved our turnover and offered a vehicle to create new relations,” she said.
“More South African companies should attend and see what the rest of the world is doing, benchmark and continue to improve products so as to offer the customers innovative products,” Thasia said.
The 2023 Gulfood exhibition is regarded as the largest food and beverage trade exhibition in the Middle East.
According to the Deputy Minister of Trade, Industry and Competition Fikile Majola, South Africa’s participation in the Dubai Expo 2020 was part of SA’s efforts to revive the economy and create opportunities for inclusive growth.
“It paved a way to further unlock opportunities by leveraging more trade events in the region, such as Gulfood, which offers a follow-through opportunity for South African firms,” he said.
Source: South African Government News Agency