Botswana Meat Commission (BMC) is in talks with several potential niche markets in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) following their participation at the Dubai Global Expo 2020 Food Month. The BMC spent eight days in Dubai engaging with several stakeholders, including retail chains, certifying authorities and the hospitality industry among others.
BMC Chief Strategy Officer Brian Dioka told Botswana Gazette that this was to ensure there are many channels to pursue so that if one fails, there’s another one to salvage. Dioka shared that there were distributors who the BMC met with but cannot reveal as yet as negotiations are ongoing. These were distributors in the channel of HORECA (hotels, restaurants and cafeterias) and retail sector, which the BMC is particularly interested in supplying.
“Within the Dubai Expo activities, we had a couple of engagements with probable distributors, who I wish not to mention yet as we have not signed any agreements, “said Dioka. The BMC Strategists also said they met with certifying bodies to align with halal requirements of the UAE market. This was to try and address the gap that exists within Botswana’s Halal certification, as the country’s Beef product is also Halal. Certifying with this body is a great determinant of breaking into the UAE market.
“We met with this organization so that we can understand the requirements,interpret them to a BMC environment and asses what it would take for the commission to be certified, and be able to finally take our product there,” Dioka noted.
He believes that this will differentiate the Botswana product in the UAE market, and establish it as a significant premium quality, allowing the country to value it appropriately and fetch substantial revenue. “We have started this process and taken the first step of several, and we hope to complete the entire process within 6 months,” said Dioka.
The BMC was able to also engage with several big retail outlets, establishing requirements for being part of their beef suppliers. All these prospects according to Dioka, have provided BMC with a baseline for building and developing actual deals.
Dioka expressed that this exercise is on the backdrop of their 2022-2025 – "Meriting" strategy, which aims to increase access to more premium and diversified markets. Dioka said (UAE) forms part of four trade platforms, including China, USA, and certain African Markets, being pursued under the strategy. He added that the Expo also presented an opportunity for the BMC to engage all these markets.