By Devika Jyothi
Supporting Indian Trade and Investment for Africa (SITA) participated in the annual conference of the Global Pulses Confederation in Colombo, Sri Lanka with the aim of introducing its delegates to the opportunities in the international pulses market. Seen as a sustainable super-food for its numerous health benefits, pulses trade has been given a boost and is currently worth US$100bn annually.
Headquartered in Dubai, the Global Pulse Confederation (GPC) is a non-profit association for the pulses industry value chain. The annual GPC conference is the largest international global event on pulses, bringing together producers, traders and other market players in one forum. More than 500 leading pulse and legume industry representatives from 40 countries attended the GPC conference, held from 7-10 May 2018.
SITA facilitated the participation of pulse traders and select public sector representatives from Kenya and Tanzania. SITA aims to raise awareness of trends in the global pulses market, create linkages with international traders and processors of pulses, and to highlight opportunities for trade and investment in pulses in East Africa.
In his plenary session, Prof. Kivutha Kibwana, Governor of Kenya’s Makueni County, made a presentation on the pulses market in East Africa. He gave an overview of the production and trade scenario and highlighted the ambitions of the respective countries to develop the pulses value chain. He further invited the participants to engage with the team from East Africa to learn more about the trade and investment opportunities in the region.
‘Our county government has identified the pulses sector as a significant contributor towards the transformation of livelihoods within the agricultural sector in Makueni County and the region as a whole. It is in line with the resolutions of the convention that Makueni county government has made arrangements to support farmers with value addition equipment for cleaning, sorting, grading, polishing, splitting and packaging of pulses,’ said Mr. Lawrence Nzunga, County executive committee member, Department of Agriculture Livestock and Fisheries, Makueni County.
The three-day conference concluded with the Colombo Accord – the blueprint for industry growth involving production, consumption, trade policy and trade contracts of global pulses industry. According to GPC President, Mr. Huseyin Arslan, the Colombo Accord, and its call for free and fair trade in global pulse industry is a milestone in world pulses trade history and in world food trade.
“It’s, in some way, like the Uruguay round of WTO talks for this industry. We, the industry players, must be unified. This Accord is the blueprint for the GPC to strengthen the role that pulse crops play through their contribution to social and economic goals at national and international levels,” Arslan added. The new GPC Contracts system will facilitate pulses buyer-seller contracts through GPC rather than directly between the buyer and seller, reducing transaction irregularities and enabling effective arbitration if needed.
On the sidelines of the conference, a meeting was held between the Kenyan delegation, SITA representatives and officials from KAMS Singapore Pte, Mr Ritesh Bansal, Managing Director, and Mr Ashish Goyal, Business Head – International Trade, to discuss trade and investment opportunities in Kenya for pulses. Mr. Bansal expressed interest in buying produce and investing in a processing plant in Kenya. KAMS will now work with Kenyan stakeholders to address the challenges in integrating and developing the pulses value chain and provide insights based on their experience in other markets.
‘We have always been interested in expanding partnerships in Africa, since the global pulses demand is ever increasing, and to make it a new source for pulses globally, said Mr. Goyal. ‘Partners like SITA act as a bridge to connect with reliable suppliers.’
‘Having a partner like SITA brings the confidence and trust which is required whenever we move into unknown territory. SITA’s role has been phenomenal in terms of initiating business with new suppliers as they extend credibility to the supplier’s name,’ Mr. Goyal added. ‘With the help of SITA, we have expanded our business successfully in Tanzania, Kenya and Ethiopia –nearly 20,000 metric tonnes of Soybean were exported from Ethiopia for the Indian market during the period January-April ’18.’ These deals were worth approximately US$10m.
At GPC 2018 conference, trade linkages for an estimated US$225,000 worth of sales orders were established and US$400,000 worth of orders are under negotiation.