Tue, 24 Nov 2020

Farmers pick purple tea leaves at a tea garden near Nairobi, capital of Kenya, June 16, 2017. (Xinhua/Li Baishun)

The freshness of Africa's coffee and the sweetness of Chinese drinks were among the qualities of products displayed as various firms showcased their wares in a business-to-business virtual meeting.

NAIROBI, Nov. 3 (Xinhua) -- The freshness of Africa's coffee and the sweetness of Chinese drinks were among the qualities of products displayed as various firms showcased their wares in a business to business virtual meeting on Monday.

Although the coffee and food match-making meeting, which was part of the China-Central and Eastern Africa International Trade Digital Expo, was online due to the COVID-19 pandemic, one could still smell the aroma of the African coffee and feel the taste of Chinese cuisine.

From Africa, firms from Uganda, Kenya, Ethiopia, Tanzania, Rwanda and Congo were the top participants from the continent alongside their Chinese participants.

"Our products are made from pure sorghum and are a mixed texture of sweetness and fruity aroma with clear and refreshing aftertaste," said Kenneth Guo, sales manager at Jiangji Distillery, which makes Jiangxiaobai, a popular drink in China.

Guo displayed to the online audience several products that the company is offering as it seeks to widen its market beyond the Asian nation.

Other firms from China that showcased their products included Rongbaohang Technology Co. Ltd.

Aden Kedir of Fenaol Coffee Trading from Ethiopia said through the meeting, the firm's overall goal is to penetrate the Chinese market.

Coffee trees are seen at a coffee farm near Kaffa, Ethiopia, Dec. 8, 2018. (Xinhua/Zhang Yu)

"We export coffee mainly to the Middle East. We sell both raw and roasted beans. The raw coffee beans are exported as the roasted ones are sold locally," he said.

Jean-Marie Muhindo, chairman of the board of directors of Soprocopiv, a farmers' cooperative society in North Kivu in the Democratic Republic of Congo, said they work with some 5,000 Arabica and Robusta coffee farmers.

"We aim at working with 10,000 farmers in total. If you buy our coffee, you will help our farmers in rural areas to improve their lives," he said.

Brian Wachira, the director of Home Comforts Investment Kenya, which exports mainly tea and also some coffee said he was grateful for the Chinese expo.

"We export black, white and purple teas and coffee to China and we hope to increase our volumes. Our teas are used by clients in China to make instant beverages. Demand for ready to drink products is also rising," he said.

Wachira said the firm, which blends, packages, and grades tea and has trading operations in Nairobi with a liaison office in Baltimore, the U.S., hopes to grow its market in China through online platforms. Besides China, the company also exports products to Pakistan and Egypt.

Afra Abdelle from Ethio Gabana, a specialty coffee company founded in Ethiopia, said the online expo would help them grow the market for their traditional coffee in the world. From Africa, other participants came from Rwanda and Tanzania.

Lydia Sun, the project team manager of China International Exhibition Centre (CIEC), which hosted the online expo, said the meeting offers participants a chance to showcase their products after the Coffee Show in China was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

She expressed optimism that Africa's companies would be able to display their coffee products at the event next year. ■

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