Malawi Investment and Trade Centre (Mitc) has stressed the need for the country to narrow the trade gap with Zimbabwe by tapping into that country’s demand for Malawi goods.
In an interview on Friday, Mitc market development officer, George Midiani observed that there is a potential market in Zimbabwe that traders can tap into.
“Zimbabwe has been Malawi’s trading partner for a long time. Zimbabwe has been a source of raw materials for Malawi for a long time. We would like to narrow the trade gap, and one way of doing that is through our participation in the Zimbabwe International Trade Fairs (Zitf),” he said.
Malawi has been participating in the Zimbabwe trade fairs since the 1980s, and out of such fairs, Midiani said a lot of local companies have been exporting to Zimbabwe.
He noted that the only challenge was the economic problem that Zimbabwe experienced in the recent past and because of that, most proceeds for exports that were made to Zimbabwe were not received as the importers could not raise money to pay for their imports.
However, in a similar fair last year, Mitc expressed worry over the fact that most participants did not deliver on the orders they got from Zimbabwe.
A Mitc report on the 2012 Zitf indicated that there were discouraging comments from the consumers and traders who visited the Malawi Pavilion.
A month other things, the comments indicated Malawi’s failure to supply the orders made during the fair.
“Not many people go to represent their companies at the fair; mostly they opt to send product samples for Mitc to market them on their behalf. We then pass on the enquiries to the respective organisations when we come back, so that they act on them.
“Follow-ups on such enquiries have revealed that almost all of the participants in the fair last year did not supply. Among other reasons, they could not agree on prices, especially for rice. Zimbabwe buyers said Malawi rice was highly priced. We hope this year we will find how best we can sort out the pricing issues,” said Midiani.
In this year’s Zitf though, Midian said 95 percent of the companies that have shown interest will send their representatives to the fair this year, which will make it easier for the traders to seal on-the-spot business deals with potential buyers.