June 22nd, 2020

The SIPPO BSO partner, TIKZN, facilitated an informal Zoom meeting with participating companies on their export marketing plans, as part of the training programme on 10 June 2020.

As part of their export promotion activities, Trade and Investment KwaZulu-Natal (TIKZN) reached out to firms participating in this programme for the processed foods and natural ingredients sectors, in order to discuss and exchange ideas on how they are dealing with the uncertain, difficult times as a result of the current Covid – 19 crisis. The implementor of this programme, TIKZN & the exporters were joined in the meeting by the local training consultant, ITRISA, together with the SIPPO Country Representative and international processed foods expert, who participated from the side-lines.

The participants discussed “The Lockdown Blues”, during which firms from the working group shared their experiences affecting the current domestic business climate and export challenges. Valuable inputs on the current European market situation and buyer conditions influenced by the Pandemic, was given by the SIPPO international expert, based in Europe.      

Participants were reminded that in every catastrophic situation there is always a glimmer of hope and that they have an opportunity during the next few months to produce sound export marketing plans for when we finally emerge from the present pandemic. They were encouraged to utilise this time to plan, fix and identify “export readiness” problems and to mentally prepare themselves for new emerging opportunities.

The trends at present are pointing towards technology-based means of communication and business conduct (on-line training, on-line business meetings, virtual trade fairs, e-commerce, etc.).  Participants were also encouraged to investigate the possibilities associated with digital commercial activity, should they not have done so already. 

In addition, the participants were able to engage in discussions on the schedule of the programme and the next steps going forward.