Botswana Export Manufacturers Association (BEMA) has expressed delight at the new emerging export markets for maize meal, beef, Bambara nuts and textile designs, cosmetic and donkey products.
BEMA Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Mantlha Sankoloba told this publication that they have identified new markets post Covid-19 which they are seeking to explore soon.
Sankoloba highlighted that countries such as Angola and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) have already enquired about the possibility of being supplied with maize meal.
She stated that this is a perfect opportunity to assist businesses which were badly affected by the outbreak of Covid-19.
“This will give local businesses an urge to come back into the business even though things have not been so fast,” said Sankoloba.
She also said another positive note is that Ghana and other countries in the Eastern part of the continent have also ramped up their interest in buying locally produced meat.
Sankoloba said even though countries have shown interest, it will however prove difficult to access the aforementioned markets as government is yet to ratify AFCTA.
“Ghana and other countries in the East have shown interest in consuming our meat but looking at how the trading landscape is, currently in the sense that we have not ratified AFCTA it will be costly for our local farmers to export meat to such areas. It would be great if we ratified so that we can enjoy the benefits of the markets that comes with AFCTA, so that we can also access these markets with ease,” added Sankoloba.
She said there is demand in other products such as the textile products as evidenced by the approach from the Zimbabwean government to purchase Personal Protective Equipment (PPE’s).
“There may be need for a lot of market research in other areas where there is potential for us to explore to see which products we can export into such spaces. We are currently in communication with the likes of China to see what products we can export. We are also very closely working with Botswana office in Brussels to see what products can be consumed in such areas because you will remember that Europe has been consuming our beef even though there are other things we can also supply,” said Sankoloba.
She also said there has been an activity in the cosmetic space with local companies exporting their products into the American market.
“We have also seen our donkey products that have been exported to the American market because there is a company processing donkey products. If one company can expand to America, other local companies can also do that,” said Sankoloba.
She also said their target is to explore the 2.1 billion US Dollar market but that can only happen through the ratification of the AFCTA.
“It would be unfortunate to find ourselves out-spaced by the time government decides to ratify AFCTA,” stated Sankoloba.
She further said there has been a series of enquiries in the horticulture space through AGOA that the American market has shown a great interest in having local businesses exporting dried horticulture products.
“We have been working closely with the USA trade hub to identify companies that have the potential to export such commodities to the American market,” added Sankoloba.