The Agricultural Transformation Agency (ATA) and Ministry of Trade (MoT) have effectively facilitated Ethiopia’s participation in two prominent international trade shows for food and agriculture products in February 2018. Biofach, held in Nuremberg, Germany, from 14-18 February, is the biggest exhibition of organic foods globally, with nearly 2,950 exhibitors and 50,000 visitors. Meanwhile, Gulfood, the world’s largest annual food and beverages trade show held in Dubai, UAE from 18-22 February, features 5,000 exhibitors and 97,000 visitors. These trade shows present a tremendous opportunity for Ethiopia to showcase its exportable food products and engage with potential buyers from around the world.

Ethiopia’s primary commodities advertised at these trade shows were pulses and oilseeds, spices, honey, coffee, tef, and meat and live animals. Close to one hundred Ethiopian exporting companies, including two cooperative federations, in the two trade shows combined.

Moreover to exhibiting samples of Ethiopian commodities at dedicated booths (accompanied by informative materials on specific commodities and general investment opportunities) one-to-one discussions were held between exporters and buyers in the Ethiopian pavilion’s two lounge areas. Bilateral meetings between government officials, agencies, and potential investors were also conducted simultaneously. A food counter serving bite-sized portions of classic Ethiopian dishes, catered by Gursha restaurant in Dubai, allowed visitors to sample the country’s cuisine, and, in some instances, get their first taste of tef. The live traditional coffee ceremony was one of the Ethiopian pavilion’s main attractions.

In order to ensure the smooth execution of both trade shows, a multi-sectoral technical committee composed of staff from ATA and MoT and other key institutions undertook major marketing and logistical activities. These included booth selection, design, and exhibitor scheduling; identifying and liaising with participants; producing a website and promotional materials; coordinating the activities of the various parties; and briefing participants on how to maximize their effectiveness at the trade shows. Ethiopia’s engagement at the trade shows was financed in large part by the ATA and MoT. Other developmental institutions, such as USAID, also contributed funds to the endeavor.

The involvement of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Ethiopian Consulates in Frankfurt and Dubai,and the Ethiopian Pulses, Oilseeds, and Spices Producers and Exporters Association (EPOSPEA), was pivotal in the success of both trade shows.