PRETORIA– The South African Department of Trade and Industry (dti) is helping 23 local companies seek new markets in Mozambique by particiapting in the 54th Maputo International Trade Fair (FACIM) which begins next Monday.

Food and beverage company Khora Africa Projects Co-operative Limited from Tshawane, aims to establish a new market and potential distribution channels in the neighbouring country. A director of the company which produces fruit jam, chutney, chilli sauce and atcha, Thadishe Phoku, said the fair presented an enormous opportunity for the company.

This is an enormous opportunity for us emerging exporters, if our humble beginning from a home and kitchen set-up in 2002 until 2013, when we were struggling for financial backing, is anything to go by. Today, we are lauding the Department of Trade and Industry (dti) for inspiring confidence through their incentive schemes, said Phoku.

The dti, through its Export Marketing and Investment (EMIA) Scheme, offers financial and non-financial support to small, medium and micro-sized enterprises (SMMEs) to access global markets.

The department has assisted us to acquire industrial equipment and the EMIA Scheme will ensure that our products are exposed to new export markets. We have also recently secured a grant from the dti’s Agro-processing Support Scheme (APSS) to beef up our equipment and transport needs, said Phoku on Tuesday.

FACIM is the biggest trade show in Mozambique and will be held in the capital Maputo. The popular annual trade fair, which caters for a variety of products and services, attracts the attention of companies from the world over.

Trade and Industry Minister Rob Davies said the government, through the National Industrial Policy Framework, seeks to promote intra-Africa trade and an increase on the levels of industrialization in the Southern African Development Community (SADC) sub-region and the rest of the continent.

The promotion of South Africa’s commercial value proposition at FACIM is a significant tool towards the achievement of this important objective, said Davies.

Davies said another objective for showcasing South African products at FACIM is to reduce the current trade imbalance between South Africa and Mozambique. Currently, South African goods and services hold a dominant position over those of Mozambique.

The total trade volume in 2017 stood at 51 billion Rand (about 3.6 billion US dollars) and the trade balance between our countries in 2017 was 26.6 billion Rand in favour of South Africa. It is this imbalance that we are actively trying to steer away from by ensuring that both our countries significantly benefit from our bilateral relations and that the economic benefits of growth and development are accrued on both sides of our borders, said Davies.

In 2017, FACIM hosted 1,940 exhibitors — 1,400 national and 540 international companies — from 20 countries and was visited by 80,000 people. This year’s trade fair will run from Aug 27 to Sept 3.