More than 300 exhibitors will be joined today (June 19) at South Africa's Gallagher Convention Centre in Midrand by thousands of international visitors for a series of events to promote business.
Doors open at 10am for Africa's Big 7 2016 (AB7) which is the continent’s largest food and beverage expo, covering all areas of food production from farm produce right through to packaging machinery.
And the show is co-located with a second large expo: SAITEX 2016, with another 400 exhibitors at Africa’s largest international trade exhibition for retailers looking for new products.
With a dozen country pavilions and a full conference programme, AB7 has become one of the Africa's key international networking events attracting visitors and buyers from more than 50 countries in 2015.
Nigeria’s D-Dynamic-D is one of more than 100 African exhibitors at the show and says it will be targeting retailers and processing companies with produce that it says will appeal to "West Africans around the world".
"In addition to raw commodities, including ginger, sesame and hibiscus, we will be displaying processed Nigerian foods such as pounded yam flour, plantain flour and the finely ground ogi/pap flour," says DDD spokesman Ibrahim Bayero. "We are at AB7 looking to find partners who can benefit from sourcing foods desired by West Africans."
One of South Africa's most successful food and homeware brands Melissa’s is also at AB7 2016 with a 400-strong product range and new franchise opportunities.
"We did extensive online research of all South African trade shows applicable to our business in 2016," says Mark Tobin, Executive Sales Director at Melissa's. "AB7 provides a powerful and effective product showcase and business networking platform where manufacturers and producers can interact with suppliers, agents, buyers and customers from around the world, all in one place and time."
Ana Castellano Gasso, is marketing coordinator for Swiss manufacturer Omya at AB7, which produces calcium carbonate. It's used as an alternative to cows' milk also to produce crisper breakfast cereals and whiter baked goods.
She said: "The reason for attending this year AB7 is to promote our company and products to a wider audience in Africa."
A three-day conference The Food Forum 2016, runs alongside AB7, where minimising food waste will be a key issue for attendees of the three-day conference.
Wessel Lemmer, senior agricultural economist at ABSA AgriBusiness, will be speaking on the second day on 'Economic challenges facing primary producers supplying the food chain', which will also consider the implications of RSA's government plans to redistribute the farmland.
As well as food waste, there will be sessions on the future of Halal food in the region and preserving the region's food supply.
On the third day, there is a free conference session on 'Ethics and doing business in Africa' with a keynote by Chris Maroleng, Group Corporate Affairs of the MTN Group, followed by a panel discussion and Q&A, to discuss critical topics for all players doing business in Africa.
"We are expecting a great show surpassing Africa's Big 7 last year, which attracted more than 1,000 international buyers looking to meet producers from South Africa and neighbouring countries," said Christine Davidson, Vice President of show organiser dmg-ems Africa.
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