Malawi Confederation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry (MCCCI) along with local regular exhibitors of Malawi International Trade Fairs (MITF) have branded the annual event as a significant platform that has helped businesses grow and improve brand visibility.
Speaking in an interview with Business News Raiply Malawi Limited managing director Swastick Shetty said trade fairs have provided the company a platform for productive interactions in a lively and pleasant atmosphere.
“This year alone, we have had prospective customers who have expressed lots of interest and are excited with the fact that such beautiful products of such superior quality are being manufactured in Malawi and are exported in big volumes.“We have developed a database of prospects and we intend to keep in touch with them. We definitely expect some improvement in this particular business segment in the days to come,” he said.
However, Shetty cautioned that trade fairs should not be looked at as a place for selling but rather a marketing medium in exploring newer opportunities.
He said: “It is not the numbers of participants that are important but the quality of participants, proceedings and the interactions that take place throughout the fair.”
Speaking separately, Rab Processors marketing and sales officer Julio Naelo said their company which has been participating in trade fair for over 15 years has seen change in its business.
“Trade fairs have helped us. Recently we introduced Diva Glycerine as one of our new ventures and most people got to notice it from Trade Fair. This is just an example of several other products that we took to the trade and did well on the market,” he said.
On his part MCCCI chief operations officer Chimwemwe Luhanga while pointing out that the country has progressed through trade fairs, said the chamber is of the view that the there is room for improvement.
“We feel the fairs can grow more and become a landmark event in terms of facilitating business. We have progressed but not as much as we would have wanted. We still have 250 exhibition booths but our desire is to reach to 1 000 booths. On the other hand foreign participation has been up and down.
“Our assessment is that this is related to the economy, if Malawi is projected as a country that is doing well then we would get a lot of people to sample the market We will, however, work out on strategies to ensure that we grow,” he said.
Weighing in, deputy director in the ministry of Industry and Trade Wiskes Mkombezi said the ministry is of the view that trade fairs have stakeholders in business have reaped from.
“Most people do not know that exhibitors get orders from experiences at the trade fair. We are a clear example. We have cooperatives that are supported by the Malawi Enterprise Productivity and Enhancement Project (Mepe) project that has this year not come become orders are overwhelming and they have stayed to fulfill those orders,” he said.
Malawi has been running international trade fairs for the past 28 years as one way of bringing together exhibitors from and beyond Malawi to share experiences and market their goods and services.
This year’s MITF themed Productivity: A Source of Export Competitiveness attracted over 250 exhibitors. Out of these companies, 15 were foreign companies from six countries namely Kenya, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Sri Lanka, India and Tanzania.