According to the Grand review research (March 2019), the global cold chain market is expected to reach an estimated USD 447.50 Billion by the year 2025. The phenomenon cannot be separated from attaining food security and commercialisation of value chains, especially for those dealing with fresh produce handling.
It is in keeping with global improvements, enhancing an export oriented market and desire to grow the contribution of agriculture to the national GDP, that NAMBoard, on behalf of the Government is hosting an inaugural cold chain summit in Eswatini.
The event themed, ‘Keeping it Fresh’ will be held from August 7-8 at Mavuso Exhibition and Trade Centre in Manzini.
The key objectives of the summit are; to unlock hidden value within fresh produce value chains; to create entrepreneurship opportunities at all levels of the value chain; kickstart the process of alliances, networks and knowledge required to commercialise agriculture; and to contribute in Government’s economic turnaround strategy by boosting both local and export sales.
As emphasised by NAMBoard Board Chairman Dr. Mike Matsebula, during the launch of the summit on the 18th April, “optimal cold chain management is one of the critical inputs towards achieving growth in local and export sales.”
“At the same time, cold chain management is a significant contributor to the cost-competitiveness of the country’s agricultural products. Hence the importance of optimal cold chain management. It is, indeed, one of the key strategic areas for NAMBoard.”
Further, NAMBoard Agri Business Manager Tammy Dlamini indicated that, irrigated agriculture production is anticipated to increased by 300 per cent from 2020, owing to key developments by Government and partners and this necessitates efficiency in fresh produce management.
The event is supported by Government and the Produce Marketing Association (PMA), a global player in the fresh produce marketing and value chains, which the country is a member of, and represented by NAMBoard.
Speaking during the launch, Minister of Agriculture Jabulani Mabuza mentioned that he believes that the cold chain summit will equip cold chain sector players to maintain their produce quality, efficacy, and integrity.
Adding, he says the summit will also go a long way to mitigate the high degree of post-harvest losses and this will improve food security, wealth retention and distribution along the agricultural value chain.
“To address the challenge of post-harvest losses, all players need to be constantly informed and capacitated about different trends, innovations, technical developments and operations in the cold chain across the whole value chain if we are to compete in the export market.”
The summit will bring together leading experts and stakeholders from across the sector for two days of engaging presentations and interactive discussions. Key stakeholders include but not limited to; decision makers, financiers, innovators from the retail food industry, farmers, food processors, distributors, financiers, as well as transporters of frozen, chilled and ambient products.
It will run concurrently with an exhibition, whose aim is to give stakeholders insights into the sector’s latest technology projects in cold chain distribution, transportation, packaging solutions, and data and temperature monitoring technologies amongst other things.