By Devika Jyothi
In March 2019, SITA organised a pulses investment mission comprised of representatives from Indian SMEs to Ethiopia, Tanzania and Uganda. The mission was organised in response to interest generated during the agri-investment seminars held in Kanpur and Mumbai in December 2018, where government officials and investment promotion agencies from Uganda, Tanzania and Ethiopia had invited Indian millers and processors to invest .
In Ethiopia, the delegation visited the Debre-Birhan Industrial Park – an industrial park fully dedicated to agro-processing – to see the infrastructure available at the park, discuss incentives and benefits of setting up a plant within the park and the procedures for setting up operations. In Tanzania, the delegates were taken on a tour of the Benjamin Mkapa Export Processing Zone (EPZ); while in Uganda, they visited the Industrial and Investment Park at Namanve to assess opportunities available for foreign investors.
The Indian processors, who had no prior direct access to traders from the region, have now expressed interest in establishing direct trade links. One of the companies will undertake a feasibility study of setting up a processing unit in Tanzania.
Mr. Rupesh Rathi of RR Udyog, Akola, a member of the delegation said, ‘At the onset, I was not sure whether I wanted to take away time from my business and pay for a flight to come and explore the opportunities in the pulses sector in East Africa. However, from the meetings that I had, I have no doubt that this was a good investment on my end.’
Currently, the Indian market imposes quantitative restrictions on the import of certain categories of pulses. SITA will support Indian companies interested in investing in processing units in East Africa to facilitate for export globally.
‘Through my interactions with the SITA team and with companies in the pulses value chain in East Africa, I have been challenged to expand the frontiers of my business. There are numerous opportunities that are yet to be exploited,’ remarked Mr. Kishor Agarwal of Balaji Tirupati Pulses, Akola.
As the Indian companies explore possibilities, SITA will continue its work to increase investment in East Africa’s pulses sector.