The 25th anniversary of Gulfood 2020 took place from Feb 16-20, 2020 with the theme “Rethinking Food” and as in the nine preceding editions, Ethiopia brought together more than 130 exporters showcasing their products, such as oilseeds, pulses, spices, coffee and livestock. Moreover, value added products such a tahini, meat and honey were also showcased.
The Ethiopian participation was officially opened by Ambassador Misganu Arega, Ethiopian State Minister of Trade and Industry. Za’abeel Hall 1 hosted the two Ethiopian pavilions, ‘Ethiopia: Land of Origins’, which was adorned with Ethiopian Geez alphabets known as ’fidels’ decorating the top and pillars. Images depicting the rich and diverse nature of the country were also present, attracting the various visitors who attended the expo. As a result, Ethiopia’s two pavilions were swarming with buyers and visitors. Various foreigners and locals were enjoying the traditional Ethiopian coffee ceremony and the traditional food testing counter to enjoy the best the country has to offer. The Ethiopian stand also introduced the option of tef crackers and a fef cake to promote the fine grain native to Ethiopia.
“The trade fair has been identified as one of the trade fairs with a high trade opportunity for Ethiopian exporters, and a platform for promoting Ethiopian agricultural products,” says Mahlet Mekuria, Senior Project Officer of Private Sector in Agriculture Development in the AgriBusiness and Markets Vertical at the Ethiopian Agricultural Transformation Agency (ATA). She adds, “Last year’s participation at Gulfood attained a much needed 70 Million USD sales of Ethiopian products. This year, the trade fair is expected to result in new export sales of close to 85 Million USD.” The exact amount of sales attained will be officially announced after an assessment of the contracts that went through.
Apart from exhibiting the products of Ethiopia, various meetings and discussions were held with potential and existing buyers of agricultural products from Ethiopia. Furthermore, the trip also incorporated experience sharing with other countries and a visit to Dubai’s Coffee Processing facility that was organized by the Dubai Chamber of Commerce and was attended by representatives of Coffee exporters
The successful representation of Ethiopia was possible with the collaborative work of the Ministry of Trade and Industry (MoTI) and the Agricultural Transformation Agency (ATA) through the Agricultural Trade and Investment Promotion (ATIP) Project, and a multi-sectoral Technical Committee. ATA has played a key role in the last four Gulfood events by supporting the MoTI in designing and setting up of the booth, arranging the food tasting bar and coordinating marketing and communication efforts. ATA’s involvement is aimed at creating an enabling environment wherein smallholder farmers can have diversified opportunities to market their outputs and be effectively linked to local and global supply chains.