As the world’s markets of natural and healthy food and cosmetic products soar, the European buyers of natural ingredients look for new sustainable producers, able to export their products to Europe and meet the European consumer demands. On the other hand, African agribusiness has in the past decade taken off, producing sustainable and often certified natural products, sought by European buyers. Yet, the trade linkages between Europe and Africa in these sectors remain scarce.
With the aim to promote sustainable sourcing, develop sustainable value chains of natural products and link African SMEs to international markets, Source Africa set out to boost market linkages between international buyers and East African producers for natural products and ingredients, supported by a series of online sourcing events.
At our first sourcing event Source Africa - Suppliers meeting buyers on the 24th February 2022 we brought together 14 East African agribusinesses, 6 European buyers, 4 agribusiness value chain and transparency experts and a number of GIZ, COLEACP and ITC representatives. We addressed challenges and opportunities for sourcing from East Africa at 3 roundtables:
Opportunities and challenges for sourcing honey from East Africa: Tanzania case, moderated by ProFound’s Senior Consultant, expert in sustainable value chain development for natural ingredients
The development of herbs, herbal teas, specialty tea and specialty coffee sector in East Africa, moderated by ProFound’s founder and Senior Advisor, expert in sustainable and traceable supply chains
Opportunities and challenges for sourcing moringa, dried fruits and nuts from East Africa, moderated by Susan Mugure Wambugu, Anteja Africa’s agribusiness expert.
The most notable takeaways from the Source Africa kick off event are:
Market linkages between buyers and agribusinesses should be based on partnerships to build long-term strategies, which would enable African SMEs to make the right investment decisions. Long-term partnerships would help buyer and supplier understand each other’s needs and work together to overcome any barriers, for example obtaining certifications. In a long-term partnership with a buyer, a supplier could opt for 1 or 2 specific certifications, without having to acquire a number of certifications available on the market.
Besides focusing solely on quality produce, East African agribusinesses must invest in quality equipment and packaging. The buyer’s first priority remains quality of agricultural produce, however, it is equally important to bridge the gap between the product's quality and the related infrastructure, for example quality and sustainable packaging, processing equipment etc.
European buyers are looking for suppliers making social and environmental impacts in their communities and can substantiate their impacts with quality data. The agribusinesses should focus on the social and environmental aspect of their business practices, particularly on supporting the living income and employing youth and women. The companies should demonstrate their social and environmental impacts with quality data, making the impacts transparent and reliable.
All in all, while East African agribusinesses should continue pursuing quality of produce, processing equipment and packaging, standard compliance and sustainability, they should be supported in their efforts by the buyers and other partners. GIZ, COLEACP and ITC representatives also extended support to East African agribusinesses.
Anteja Africa and ProFound are currently booking meetings between buyers and East African agribusinesses, so if you are a buyer of natural ingredients, have a look at the agribusinesses in our network and book a meeting with your preferred supplier today! We also invite all buyers and suppliers interested in knowing more about Source Africa to get in touch with us.