THE COMESA Business Council (CBC) and the Taj Pamodzi Hotels have signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to implement a one-year Local Sourcing for Partnerships (LSP) project to promote homegrown food supply to the hospitality industry.
The LSP project will set out how the two institutions will collaborate in promoting local sourcing from agro food suppliers whilst integrating them into supply chains of the hospitality industry.
The objective of the project is to increase sourcing from small growth enterprises by large corporate companies in the COMESA region in order to create jobs and economic development.
The LSP project would also encourage intra-trade growth in the hospitality industry through the consumption of homegrown products.
LSP project will be piloted in six countries, namely Zambia, Malawi, Ethopia, Uganda, Kenya and Rwanda.
Speaking during the signing ceremony, CBC chief executive officer Sandra Uwera said the partnership would improve local sourcing for Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) in Zambia and in the COMESA region.
She said the two would work hand in hand with the Zambia Association of Manufacturers (ZAM) to ensure successful implementation of the project.
Ms Uwera said the signing of the MoU was the first of a one-year project to improve the quality and standards of food suppliers and other value chain actors in the hospitality industry among other sectors.
“To date the active participation of SMEs in national and regional value chain remains very limited in the COMESA region,’’ she said.
She said the LSP project would enable efficiently performance and create sustainable partnerships with the hospitality industry.
“Signing of this MoU is the first of a one-year project to improve the quality and standards of food suppliers and other value chain actors in the hospitality industry among other sectors, so that they are able to efficiently perform and create sustainable partnerships with the hospitality industry,’’ she said.
Ms Uwera said it was unfortunate that a significant proportion of food and inputs in the tourism sector continued to be imported from outside the region.
She urged the private sector to explore and understand the benefits of local sourcing to businesses and economies at national and regional level.
And Taj Pamodzi Hotels general manager Sanjay Sood said the project would not only benefit the hospitality industry and SMEs but the country at large.
Mr Sood said the MoU and the LSP project would not only strengthen the development of SMEs in the agro sector to be able to meet the rising demand of quality agro products but also increase market access.