MOSCOW, Russia, Sept 28, GNA - With the current sanctions between Europe and Russia there is massive opportunity for African producers to develop their trading relationships with Russia, Managing Director at the Catalyze – International Events, Rex Bowden, has said in an interview with Ghana News Agency.
This comes after the 27th World Food Moscow exhibition held from September 17 to 20.
South Africa and Egypt, for example, have had constant growth in trade with Russia over the past five years.
The same, he said could however, not be said of other countries around the world whose trade with the Eastern European nation had gone down dramatically.
According to Bowden, “Africa fresh produce is also growing due to massive international demand and there has been a steady growth in the output in Africa. All these factors point towards continued growth into Russia from African countries.”
The World Food Moscow exhibition has been acknowledged as the best platform for introducing new products to the Russian market.
African countries that participated in this year exhibition included South Africa, Egypt, Tunisia, Morocco, Algeria, Nigeria, Kenya, Tanzania and Rwanda.
South Africa’s Economic Counsellor at the Diplomatic Representative Office in Moscow, Moloko Leshaba, said that “South Africa has continued to see positive growth in exports to the Russia in a number of products”.
“Bottled wines have been growing at more than 10 percent in the last four years, increasing the number of South African wine brands in the country.”
He, however, noted that “Russia is actively looking for alternative suppliers of food and beverages to mitigate the effects of sanctions. South African companies have the opportunity to expand into a receptive market in Russia.”
Philip Mundia Githiora, the Minister Counsellor at the Kenyan Embassy in Moscow, said Russia offered a large market for Kenyan agricultural products and that Kenya had already been exporting cut-flowers, tea and coffee to the Russian Federation.
He added that “a preferential trade agreement with Kenya in particular and Africa in general would be a positive step because such agreements hasten the progress of trade negotiations, leads to the achievement of timely, substantial reduction in barriers to trade, particularly agriculture, non-tariff barriers, and dispute settlement procedures, and stimulate economic growth and development.”
As far back as 2014, the African diplomatic community in the Russian Federation had asked the Russian government for an initiative to waive its import tariffs on or grant special preference for African agricultural exports to the country.
The World Food Moscow exhibition covers the entire food market a - meat and poultry, fish and seafood, frozen products and semi-processed foods, fruits and vegetables, confectionery and baked goods, groceries and snacks, preservation, fat-and-oil products and dairy products.
This year’s exhibition attracted over 2,500 exhibitors from 62 countries and almost 50,000 visitors.