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B2B EVENT LEVERAGES KOSOVO DIASPORA IN OPENING NEW EXPORT MARKETS

FRUIT AND VEGETABLE INDUSTRY SEEKS TO CHANNEL SALES THROUGH EMIGRE


PRISTINA, Kosovo A first-of-its-kind B2B conference matched some of Kosovos top food companies with distribution companies across Europe owned by the small nations sizeable diaspora population. USAID, together with the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation, organized the April 25-26 event to open new export markets for Kosovos fruit and vegetable producers and processors. The event drew roughly 20 Kosovar-owned food importers and distributors, based in Switzerland, Germany, Finland and elsewhere across Europe, as well as an equal number of domestic food companies. During and immediately following the meeting, participants struck 25 new or expanded export deals. The agreements cover everything from apples to peppers, and pumpkins to potato chips. The business-to-business conference fostered linkages through one-on-one meetings. It also allowed importers to visit in person some of Kosovos most promising producers of jams, juices, preserves, relishes and other products. We believe you will see new opportunitiesnew opportunities to reach back and make sincere, long-lasting partnerships that will take the industry in Kosovo and your business forward, Mark Wood, project director of USAIDs New Opportunities for Agriculture program, told the visiting delegates. USAIDs NOA organized the event jointly with the SDCs Diaspora for Development project. For Adiat Hajdari, manager of Ananas Impex, the conference represented a chance to land new markets in Sweden and Switzerland for his firms paprika and crushed pepper. While the firm already exports to Albania, added foreign sales should catalyze growth in capacity, employment and product diversity, Hajdari said. All three are among the goals of USAIDs NOA project. Fadil Jakupaj came to the conference from Switzerland to secure a supply of pickled peppers, as well as renew previous agreements to import local wines. The owner of Alban Market,

Photo: USAID NOA

Businesses discuss possible ventures at B2B event.

Photo: USAID NOA

Kosovo produced juices being tasted by business guests from Europe.

a Basel-based grocer and butcher, Jakupaj is always seeking to expand his offering of Kosovo imports. However, he recognizes the stiff competition Kosovos food industry faces as it rebuilds after its post-war collapse. That is what is missingmarketing. Consumers in Switzerland lack awareness of many of these products, Jakupaj said. To address that problem, USAID has facilitated both private label production and test shipments of export product. For example, Rizona, a Kosovo food processor, exported a single truckload of pickled peppers to Germany in 2010 as a A display of Kosovo produced peppers, test; this year, it will export 10 truckloads, company owner pickled and in form of ajvar. Bashkim Bytyqi said. The peppers are sold through Kelmendi GmbH, a distributor catering to Germanys several hundred thousand Kosovars.
Photo: USAID NOA

They can absorb all we can produce, said Bytyqi, whose firm also signed a new deal to export pumpkins to Switzerland on a trial basis.