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Ethiopia eyes USD 60 mIn contract upshots from Dubai trade show

Teaming up to exploit trade and tourism upshots from the upcoming Dubai trade fair, the Agricultural Transformation Agency (ATA) and the Ethiopian Tourism Organization (ETO), seek to secure USD 63 million worth of trade deals.

The Agricultural Transformation Agency (ATA) together with the Ministry of Trade and Industry and with the Ethiopian Tourism Organization, have organized a joint effort and signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to capitalize on market opportunities. The specialized trade fair dubbed: Gulfood has been hosted for years and this year it will be held from February 17 to 21, 2019 at the Dubai World Trade Center. 

The three government offices have joined hands to brand and feature Ethiopia’s agricultural commodities during the trade show. “Ethiopia: Taste of Origins”, a brand imitated from the country’s national tourism brand “Land of Origins”.

Mirafe Gebriel Marcos, Senior Director of Agribusiness and Markets with ATA, told The Reporter that this year the major commodities – with a bit of value addition – will be featured in Dubai with the expected turnout of USD 63 million trade deals. So far, some 130 exporters and traders have been registered and more will keep joining the Ethiopian trade mission, Mirafe said. According to Gulfood website, so far 1o institutional exhibitors from Ethiopia, including the ministries of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Industry and the Ministry of Agriculture and the like have secured stands at the Dubai World Trade Center.

Last year as well, close to 130 exporters had managed to secure deals of USD 52 million. For this year Mirafe said that the cross agency collaboration and coordination will result a realistic outcomes despite the global price volatilities for commodities. Yet, the Ethiopian delegation will leverage on the expo venue with its consistent branding and well-designed pavilion at the event.

However, there are serious quality and volume shortages of products when Ethiopian export sector is considered. Both Mirafe and Assefa Mulugeta, Director General of Export Promotion and Marketing with the Ministry of Trade and Industry said that there are multiple opportunities for Ethiopia’s produces with considerable challenges in meeting standard requirements and value additions.

Assefa admitted that production and volumes of exportable commodities need to be seriously worked out. In addition to lack of surplus productions, climate change is a grim reality threatening extinctions of coffee species.

In a recent scientific study published by the London-based Royal Society both Coffee Arabica and Coffee Robusta face extinction due to climate change and deforestation.  

Nonetheless, Ethiopia is featuring its organic coffees, honey, spices and oilseeds, meat and livestock to the global buyers. Lensa Mekonnen, chief executive of ETO, told The Reporter that exhibiting these produces at the Dubai fair, where some 100,000 visitors and 5,000 exhibitors attend, would attract a lot more business to Ethiopia.