Afghan exporters sign major deals at Dubai’s Gulfood
Twenty-four Afghan exporters of vegetables, fresh and dried fruits and nuts, saffron and juice showcased their products and signed major export deals at Gulfood, the world’s largest annual food and hospitality event, with support from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).
Drawing over 90,000 guests, the tradeshow was held from Feb. 26- March 2 at the Dubai World Trade Center and helped raise awareness of Afghanistan’s chief exports and build the marketing skills of Afghan traders.
“Gulfood is one of the most important international tradeshows for Afghanistan, as agriculture accounts for 40 percent of the country’s GDP and the majority of its exports,” said Deputy Minister of Commerce and Industries Mohammad Qurban Haqjo. “The contracts and relations made at Gulfood will send a message to buyers that Afghanistan is able to meet demand for high quality agricultural commodities.”
USAID’s Afghanistan Trade and Revenue Project, Regional Agriculture Development Program – South, and Commercial Horticulture and Agriculture Program selected the traders in coordination with the Ministry of Commerce and Industries’ Export Promotion Agency of Afghanistan. They joined more than 5,000 food and beverage suppliers from 120 countries at the event.
“We are working with our partners to build a long-term approach towards a sustainable agricultural economy and market access for Afghanistan’s farmers and traders,” said Afghanistan’s Minster of Agriculture, Irrigation and Livestock Assadullah Zameer.“Afghanistan’s participation in Gulfood is vital for market access and high volume sales, which plays an important role in the cycle of value chain for our high value crops. Participation in such events help our traders and farmers gain up-to-date knowledge of the agriculture sector, build their networks and make business deals. I am looking forward to successful participation of Afghanistan in the Gulfood Exhibition 2017.”
“USAID is keeping pace with growing demand for Afghan agricultural goods by supporting efforts to significantly increase exports, including by air cargo. Afghan traders participating in this year’s Gulfood are at the forefront of this strategy,” said Herbert Smith, USAID Mission Director in Afghanistan. “Greater interest in Afghan products among international buyers is important for attracting investment in both the agricultural sector and supply logistics and infrastructure in this landlocked country.”
Prior to decades of conflict, Afghanistan’s agricultural products earned a global reputation for excellence, particularly almonds, pomegranates, pistachios, raisins, and apricots. The tradeshow follows a successful event in Dubai during December 2016 called “Exhibition Afghanistan” that raised awareness of Afghanistan’s biggest exports. Over the last decade, USAID has facilitated agriculture export sales of fresh and dried fruit and nuts worth over $54 million to India, Pakistan, UAE and other countries.
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