– Ethiopia shows huge increase in tractor, agricultural machinery imports
By Bruh Yihunbelay, Bologna, Italy
The International Agricultural and Gardening Machinery Exhibition (EIMA 2016 International Expo), which is one of the biggest agricultural industry trade fairs in the world, was focusing on re-launching its cooperation with Africa in agriculture by developing cooperation projects and new policies for the use of mechanization in agriculture on the continent.
EIMA International Expo – a 5-day event which was being held from November 9-13 in Bologna, Italy – showcased products including agriculture processing machinery, chemical fertilizing and spraying equipment, crop cleaning, grading, weighing and harvesting machinery, grain processing machinery, industrial feed stuff production and irrigation systems and equipment.
The 42nd edition saw a record number of visitors, 140 delegates from 80 countries, 1900 exhibitors and 50,000 different pieces of equipment on show. The EIMA organizers are upfront about targeting delegations from developing countries in Africa and Asia to do business.
The organizers said that targeting regions is all about filling a hole in European machinery exports generally trending downwards over the past few years.
According to the organizers, the major aim of EIMA was promoting mechanization, advancing technological innovations, encouraging trade interests, developing marketing strategy and building institutional synergies.
There were more than 700 exhibiting companies in the components section alone making it the largest fair of its kind, according to organizers.
President of EIMA, Massimo Goldoni, said during a press conference held on the grounds of the Bologna Fair, that the 2016 edition’s success was largely driven by its business focus.
“It is evidence of the great interest shown by companies in EIMA which has been able to enhance its character by establishing itself as a trade event driven by business.
“We’ve been obsessed with technological innovations and it has made this event unmissable for all countries wanting to know the best of agriculture equipment and production.
“This year we also have a record number of innovative models, previews and prototypes,” he said.
One hundred and forty-one applications were received for the technical innovation awards with 25 getting the prize (14 of them were environmental friendly), and another 54 receiving commendations.
“These figures underline EIMA’s global importance,” Goldoni said.
Zooming in on Africa, the organizers said that the continent represents a challenge and at the same time a great opportunity for agricultural mechanization.
The use of technologies for agriculture is still very limited, with only three percent of total tractors in the world found in Africa, the organizers said. However, many African countries are increasing their agricultural economies and mechanization is considered an essential step in this process, according to the organizers.
Data on sales of tractors in the world indicate a general downturn with declines in Europe, China, and Brazil. The crisis in farm incomes that emanated from excess production, which in turn led to drop in the prices of major commodities, is at the root of the decline in machinery purchases, it was noted.
However, in the geography of the markets, new players have emerged such as Vietnam, the Philippines, Cambodia, and Ethiopia.
“What we see is a new geography of the markets, Goldoni said.
In that regard, it was revealed that out of the top four countries that have shown tremendous increase in the import of tractors, Ethiopia came in second with imports increasing by massive 250 percent from 2012-2015. Vietnam came in first showing a whopping 411 percent increase during the same period. Kenya also showed a steady increase of 243 percent.
Similarly, with regard to agricultural machineries, Ethiopia registered a 117 percent increase from 2012-2015. The top destination for imports of agricultural machineries from 2012-15 was Cambodia showing a 210 percent increase.
At the trade fair, many business meetings took place in the stands. In addition, members of the Ethiopian business delegation held business-to-business meetings in Bologna ahead of the official opening of the trade fair. The EIMA was organized by the Italian Agricultural Machinery Manufacturers Federation (FederUnacoma) in collaboration with the Italian Trade Agency.