This morning at Antananarivo, Madagascar, the Minister of Trade and Consumption of the Republic of Madagascar and Chairman of the Council of Ministers Tazafy Armand accompanied by Mr Sindiso Ngwenya, Secretary General of COMESA and Her Excellency Ambassador Madam Maud Vuyelwa Dlomo, Ambassador of the Republic of South Africa to Madagascar witnessed the shipment of the first consignment of 512 kilograms of fresh Litchis from Madagascar to South Africa. This is part of a 500 ton import permit of Litchis to be exported by Quality Mad of Madagascar to Fresh Mark of South Africa. The import demand of South Africa for high quality Litchis for which Madagascar is globally renowned for, runs into thousands of tonnes which can easily be supplied by exporters from Madagascar whose total annual production of Litchis is 100,000 tonnes. In 2017, it is expected that increased exports of Litchis from Madagascar will take place thus contributing to increased intra COMESA, EAC and SADC Tripartite Trade.
The first shipment of Litchis is a culmination of a project technically supported by the COMESA Secretariat with funding from the European Union and USAID. Initially the project was funded by DFID through Trade Mark Southern Africa (TMSA) as part of the COMESA, EAC and SADC Tripartite programs that are part of the Tripartite FTA which was launched on the 10th of June, 2015 in Sharma El Sheik in Egypt.
Speaking on the occasion of the flagging off of the first shipment, His Excellency Mr. Tazafy Armand, Minister of Trade and Consumption thanked the COMESA Secretariat and the Government of South Africa for having worked with the Government of Madagascar and StakeholdersÂ to meet the South African Sanitary and Phytosanitary requirements thus making it possible for Madagascar to export Litchis to South Africa. He stated that this was a practical demonstration of the benefits of the membership of Madagascar to COMESA and SADC.
In response, Her Excellency Ambassador Maud Vuyelwa Dlomo expressed happiness that the exports of Litchis to her country was testimony of the commitment of South Africa to increasing intra-regional and intra African trade . Her Excellency joined the Honorable Minister of Trade and Consumption in applauding COMESA for the support given which has resulted in the export of Litchis and that this will further strengthen bilateral cooperation and trade for the benefit of people in the two countries. In conclusion, Her Excellency assured the Honorable Minister that South Africa was willing and ready to collaborate with Madagascar inÂ facilitating the establishment of industries to add value to Litchis an and other agricultural products .
The Secretary General of COMESA in his brief remarks observed that innovative approaches were deployed to assist the exporters in Madagascar to meet the SPS export requirements by bringing together importers and exporters to work closely with the respective SPS regulatory authorities on meeting the requirements of the South African market. He further stated that the lessons learnt from the project will be replicated in other regions of Madagascar that have export potential for not only Litchis but other agricultural products. The same innovative approaches applied to address the SPS requirements have been deployed with success by COMESA in other agricultural products that are traded among COMESA member States. In conclusion, he assured the Honorable Minister that COMESA would work the Government of Madagascar to replicate and upscale other COMESA CAADP projects , such as the development of rice , cassava and maize value chains, to enable Madagascar not only to be self sufficient in food but to become a granary for the region ,particularly in rice .