The trade and investment promotion for the city of Johannesburg has launched a long-term plan to establish the city of Johannesburg as a food manufacturing and agro-processing hub and this plan would be in collaboration with two Johannesburg-based exhibitions; Africa’s Big Seven (AB7) and the Southern African International Trade Exhibition (SAITEX).
In his statement, the Joburg’s trade and investment director Reginald Pholo said that partnering with the co-located exhibitions was a good move toward achieving the dream of the city’s food and agro-processing strategy which is in line with the Joburg’s 2040 Integrated Development Plan.
“There is a huge need for capacity to transform food into manufactured food. In order to facilitate access to markets, the City is focusing on infrastructure development that includes storage facilities, processing, cold storage and transport,” Pholo said
He further pointed out the need to inculcate a culture of food processing, household and national food security and surplus sales to export markets, and AB7/SAITEX.
With Gauteng Finance MEC Barbara Creecys R100 billion 2016/17 budget, the province would change the industrial structure of its economy and focus on manufacturing, mineral benefit and agro-processing among other things.
Pholo said that Johannesburg would use the annual shows as part of its Exporter Awareness Programme, which showcases the many business opportunities for entrepreneurs.
“This also helps broaden South Africa’s exporter base in the agricultural and agro-processing sectors by developing new and existing exporters,” he added.
AB7 comprises seven sector-focused shows covering all aspects of the food and beverage industry. This include the Pan Africa Retail Trade Exhibition, AgriFood, FoodTech Africa, DrinkTech Africa, Interbake Africa, Retail Solutions Africa and FoodBiz Africa.
SAITEX is popularly seen as the biggest business opportunities event in Africa. The two shows attracted over 860 exhibitors and almost 14 000 visitors from more than 70 countries last year.
However, there has been a growing concern over the shortage of some staple crops as a result of the immense effect of climate change especially in the sub- Saharan African continent.
Researchers had on Monday stated that staple crops like maize, beans and bananas might become impossible to be grown in some parts of the sub- Saharan Africa.
In their study of how global warming will affect nine crops that make up half the region’s food production, scientists discovered that 30% percent of areas growing maize and bananas, and 60% of those producing beans could fall at risk by the end of the century. In a statement, Julian Ramirez-Villegas, the study’s lead author who works with the CGIAR Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS) said;
This study tells where, and crucially when, interventions need to be made to stop climate change destroying vital food supplies in Africa.
We know what needs to be done, and for the first time, we now have deadlines for taking action,”
The researchers therefore called for urgent aid to be given to farmers, especially in measures that could help stop climate change that is destroying vital food supplies in Africa, and in providing crops that are drought resistant among several others necessary things.
“If we don’t do anything now, farmers are no longer going to be able to grow certain crops in certain sites,” Ramirez-Villegas told the Thomson Reuters Foundation from Colombia. But we know there are several adaptation options … with which farmers should be able to carry on growing these crops for a longer period of time than we project,” the group said.
AB7 and SAITEX is expected to take place from June 19 to 21 at Gallagher Convention Centre, Midrand.