ZAMBIA is among six countries in the COMESA region whose farmers will benefit from the COMESA Business Council (CBC) local support programme aimed at promoting quality food supply.
The project aims to increase local sourcing by large corporate companies in the COMESA region from small enterprises within the hospitality and agro-industry sector, focusing mainly on food and beverages.
The project is being piloted in six COMESA states namely Ethiopia, Kenya, Malawi, Rwanda, Uganda and Zambia.
In Zambia, the Zambia Association of Manufactures (ZAM) is the implementing partner for the project.
Anchored on the theme “Building sustainable sourcing partnerships between SMEs and corporate companies”, the training is considered well-timed following concerns of a drop in trade within the COMESA region.
Where intra-COMESA total exports slightly increased by 1.9 percent from US$9.9 billion in 2013 to US$10.1 billion in 2014, intra-COMESA imports however dropped by 4.4 percent from US$11.0 billion in 2013 to US$10.6 billion in 2014.
This shows the need to structure mechanisms that can ensure intra-trade growth by encouraging the consumption of homegrown products within the COMESA region, where local sourcing remains critically low.
CBC chief executive officer Sandra Uwera said: “I see this initiative as a progressive step forward in building the capacity of growth enterprises, whilst integrating them into supply chains of larger industries in the region.”
Local sourcing partnerships are viewed as difficult and unstable processes due to the inconsistency of supply as well as their small production units and quantities.
At the end of the project a local sourcing recognition certificate will be awarded to corporate companies that promote local sourcing as practitioners of the responsible procurement policies in Africa.