BusinessDay

We enable Nigerian firms to see, get foreign technologies – Fairtrade messe

DARIAH PFAFF, event manager and LUCA LEISER, head of marketing and PR at Fairtrade Messe, which is organising the agrofood & plastprintpack exhibition in Nigeria, tell CALEB OJEWALE how the fair that is now in its seventh edition is creating synergies between local players and foreign partners.

Now that you are hosting the seventh edition of this exhibition in Nigeria, can you tell us why you started it and what the objective was?

Dariah: The main objective of the agrofood & plastprintpack exhibition all over the world is to create a platform where exhibitors and visitors can meet to discuss new ideas, technologies, solutions and create business projects. We started in North Africa and then moved to West Africa, first in Ghana and later Nigeria, which is a bigger market and has more potential.

What would you say stands out about the Nigerian market from the exhibitions you have done over the years?

Dariah: Every show we have organised in Nigeria had a tremendous impact on the Nigerian economy because investors, buyers, sellers meet to discuss emerging ideas, new technology, innovation and solutions. Due to this exchange between exhibitors and visitors, local companies can optimize and increase their productivity. This leads to more job creation and of course, reduces import costs, because, if a company is able to produce a certain product here in Nigeria with technology, which an exhibitor provided, they don’t have to import this kind of product, for example, packaging material.

This year, what are we expecting in terms of impact after the exhibition?

Luca: We are hosting a three-day conference with great speakers from a lot of big organizations like Coca-Cola and Nestlé. We have also agreed with OTACWWA (Organization for Technology Advancement of Cold Chain in West Africa) to organise the West African Cold chain Summit and Exhibition, which is co-located to our agrofood & plastprintpack show.

The exhibition will be complemented by the three-day conference, featuring more than 40 Nigerian and European experts including AFCI, AHK, African Packaging Organization (APO), and several manufacturing companies. We also enjoy the strong support of the delegation of German Industry and Commerce in Nigeria, and there are a number of official country pavilions that are being represented.

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What countries are participating this year, and do you have any projections in terms of the value of transactions compared to previous years?

Dariah: We are having exhibitors from 15 countries, including Bulgaria, France, Germany, Poland, the United Arab Emirates, United States, Spain, and Switzerland. For the fifth time in a row, we are having an official German pavilion, which will have German exhibitors displaying their solutions and products, especially global players in food and beverage processing and packaging.

On projections; one most important figure for us as exhibitors is the exhibitor satisfaction rate, that is, if exhibitors were satisfied with the previous show. Last year we had a satisfaction rate of around 80 percent, and 90 percent said they want to come again. This includes the satisfaction with the quality and quantity of visitors and services we provide. What we don’t have is figures of exhibitors and their business transactions with the local market.

Just as you’ve gotten satisfaction rates from the exhibitors, do you have any insights into what the local markets also benefited in terms of exchange of technology?

Luca: First I would say when they come to the show, they can touch base with new companies which they maybe never heard of because it’s an International Fair. Local companies are also able to get inspiration from new companies for new products, new machines, and I think this is a great value for companies. For example, Dominos, Coca-Cola or Seven-up bottling come to the show and can meet their normal business partners, but they can also get new business partners. I think that’s one of the very unique experiences you get when you come to a trade show and I think it’s also a very unique experience in Nigeria. So far because there are not so much trade shows like this for the market to get more opportunities or business contacts year after year.

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