Event Review: Meet the Farmers Conference (MTFC) 2019
Organized with one distinguishing goal in mind, which is that ‘’Africa can feed the world’’; Crenov8 set out to engage stakeholders in the agricultural ecosystem within Africa and the countries in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) for the third edition of Meet the Farmers Conference (MTFC) held at The Address Hotel Dubai, UAE on 27th and 28th of November 2019.
Meet the Farmers Conference is an annual conference aimed at promoting and supporting agribusiness partnerships between Africa and the GCC. It encourages technology innovation in the agricultural value chain and provides a platform for agro trade between both regions. The theme of the conference this year, ‘Creating a Sustainable Future; Food Security | Trade | Technology’ is anchored on sustaining food production, facilitating inter-regional trade and promoting technology in agriculture.
This year’s conference was largely attended by African farmers, exporters, investors, distributors, policymakers, logistics companies, and trade agencies. Standardization bodies, agricultural advocates, exhibitors, off-takers from the GCC, and participants from different countries were all present.
The conference opened with a welcome address delivered by Bola Oyedele, Managing Director Crenov8, and was followed by a keynote speech from the office of the UAE Ministry of Economy represented by H.E. Juma Al Kait, Assistant Undersecretary- Foreign Affairs of the Ministry of Economy, UAE. He expressed the UAE’s interest in trading with Africa and encouraged farmers to capitalize on this opportunity and export food to the GCC.
Next was a presentation on ‘How Logistics can help Improve Agricultural Trade in Africa’ by Adekunle Oyinloye, Group Managing Director -SIFAX Group, Gold sponsors of the conference. Omar Khan, Director of International Offices at Dubai Chamber of Commerce spoke on ‘How Dubai is Advancing Trade Relations with Africa’. He described MTFC as a conference that exposes Agribusinesses in Africa to opportunities in the UAE. He also stressed that the Dubai Chamber is willing to support agribusinesses and other organizations looking to set up business in Dubai.
The conference featured other presentations and panel sessions by agro experts across Africa, Europe, Asia and the Middle East. Topics ranged from ‘Ways to Create a Sustainable Future in Agriculture’ to the ‘Opportunities in Agricultural Value Chain’. Some of the panelists for both sessions include Kenneth Obiajulu, Managing Director – Farmcrowdy, Ademola Akinyemi – CEO Farmcenta, Alok Bhargava – MD Praramb Agri-Trading DMCC, Dennie Beach – President Go Africa LLC, Schlueter – President Doehler MENA and Adekunle Oyinloye – Group MD of SIFAX Group. This was followed by breakout meetings and B2B networking sessions.
After an engaging time on the first day of the conference, the second day was lit with expectant faces and high-level networking had started in the conference hall already, The full proceedings of the day began with a presentation by Dr Abdulkareem Muhammad Al Amri, CEO Hail Agriculture Consultancy. He spoke on the ‘Role of Africa in Supporting UAE Food Security’. Highlighting the major African-produced food crops that are in demand in the UAE, he encouraged farmers to cultivate for export as there is a huge market ready to absorb same in the UAE. His speech was succeeded by a presentation on ‘Food Trade in the UAE’ by Joachim Yebouet, CEO Foodco Holdings, one of the largest FCMGs engaged in food processing and distribution in the UAE. This presentation focused on the role Africa has to play to ensure the sustained distribution and availability of food for the UAE’s teeming population.
Other highlights of the event included two-panel sessions and a presentation underlining the Standards and Requirement for Food Importation into the UAE, How to deal with the Agricultural Challenges in Africa and the Agribusiness Opportunities in Africa.
MTFC 2019 Innov8Agric Challenge
The Conference this year also featured the second edition of Innov8Agric Challenge. This year, we received over a thousand applications with various innovative Agritech ideas from across Africa. The finalists, Acquahmeyer Ghana, AgriGo Rwanda and Lentera Africa pitched at the grand finale held at MTFC 2019. At the end of an exciting pitch session, Lentera Africa emerged winner of this year’s Innov8Agric Challenge. The CEO, Moses Kimani was awarded the sum of $5000 grand prize and other incentives that came with the Innov8Agric Prize.
Other Awardees at MTFC 2019 include;
- The Most Impactful Networking Group – UAE AFRICA NETWORKING GROUP
- Business Excellence Award – GO AFRICA
- Company of the Year – SIFAX GROUP
- Sustainable Company of the Year – WEBCOR GROUP
- Best Innovative Company of the Year – ADVANTA SEEDS
- Excellence in Investment Promotion – FEDERAL MINISTRY OF AGRICULTURE AND RURAL DEVELOPMENT (FMARD Nigeria)
- Trade excellence Award – MINISTRY OF ECONOMY, UAE