Weekly News Bulletin - BIOFACH Organic Trade Fair: 05/03/18

This week's bulletin covers the visit of a Tanzanian delegation to the BIOFACH organic trade fair in Nuremberg, Germany.

Tanzania Delegation at BIOFACH Organic Trade Fair

BIOFACH is the world’s leading trade fair for organic food. Between the 14th and 17th February 2018, the combined BIOFACH and VIVANNESS (the international trade fair for organic natural and organic personal care) fairs were attended by 50,000 visitors from 134 countries. Visitors attend BIOFACH for networking with organic stakeholders, marketing their organic goods and increasing knowledge on the organic sector.

This year, Tanzania sent a delegation to the BIOFACH exhibition in Nuremburg, Germany. Included in the group were TOAM CEO and AfrONet President, Jordan Gama; progressive organic spice and vegetable farmer from Zanzibar, Shaaban Haji Ameir; Permanent Secretary to the Ministry of Trade, Industries and Marketing in Zanzibar, Juma Ali Juma and; Ambassador to the Minister of Trade, Industries and Marketing in Zanzibar, Ms Amina Salum Ally.

The key goals of the Tanzanian visit were: to expose decision makers to opportunities in the organic sector, to develop business contacts for marketing and making trade links, and to visit a spice processing factory sourcing spices from Zanzibar. The highlights of the exhibition were exposure to the magnitude of organic foods and cosmetics available, and seeing how organic raw materials are being processed to add value.

For international stakeholders in the organic sector, Tanzania is a genuine source of organic products. However, Mr. Gama explained that some buyers face obstacles to sourcing organic produce from Tanzania. Currently, the Tanzanian organic sector is still developing. For serious buyers, the startup costs of engaging with Tanzanian producers are large. Often buyers have to begin working with farmers’ groups from scratch, initiating training sessions on organic agriculture and setting up quality management systems for certification.

Tanzania’s organic stakeholders need to work harder to seize market and trade opportunities. Decision makers also need to back up commitments with investment. This was highlighted by a particularly poignant exchange with a German buyer at BIOFACH who wanted to source peanuts from Tanzania. The nuts would first have to go to Egypt for shelling because Tanzania has not currently got the machinery required to shell peanuts to required standards.

The international sector will next meet again at BIOFACH and VIVANESS from 13th to 16th February 2019. For those keen to attend BIOFACH next year, it is crucial that they do their research. Attendees should be ready to engage themselves in the sector and position themselves with respect to the stakeholders they will meet at the fair.

The Tanzanian delegation were able to meet with the organisers of BIOFACH and discussed the potential to set up continental or regional BIOFACH fairs in Africa.