KENYA – Delegates and visitors to the 2019 edition of AFMASS Eastern Africa Kenya edition, which took place in Nairobi, Kenya in mid-May have reported significant progress and impact on the food industry as the region’s premier event celebrated its fifth year
The event, which took place at the Parklands Sports Club in Nairobi, Kenya on May 16-18, 2019, saw more than companies from Africa, Europe, Americas and Asia showcase their latest technologies to more than 1000 delegates and visitors over the course of three days from across Eastern Africa.
The main sponsors of the event were food processing technologies providers Buhler and Endress+Hauser, ingredients supplier DSM, microbial systems provider bioMerieux, Coca-Cola and Sendy, a logistics solutions supplier.
Several exhibitors showcasing post-harvest and milling technology (Pingle and Frigortec), ingredients solutions (Promaco, Sensient Flavours), packaging (Paperbags, Greif), logistics solutions (Isuzu, Sai Raj and Big Cold), consultancy and testing (DNV GL, Quantilab), hygiene and sustainability solutions (Diversey) and industry services (Aco Drainage, Sika and DST) joined the six sponsors at the Expo Hall, that reported the most diverse food industry solutions to date at the event.
With a revamped conference program, this year’s event saw the introduction of a field visit for the first time, which was hosted by the Africa Milling School at Buhler’s campus outside Nairobi, where the visitors were shown the latest milling technology and advised on the training programs available at the school.
Speaking during the opening ceremony, the Chief Guest, Julius Kiptarus, the Director of Livestock Production from the Ministry of Agriculture reiterated the importance of the event in bringing the key stakeholders in the private and public sector together to discuss the future of the food and agriculture sectors in the country and the region.
The conference sessions covered such topical issues as, nutrition and health, sustainability, food safety, processing and packaging technologies to automation techniques and were addressed by some of the outstanding speakers from several countries.
Panel discussions focused on investment opportunities, food safety culture, formulating nutritious food products and sustainability added extra perspectives to the event attendees.
Food safety regulation takes centre stage
In one key session, a discussion on the future of the food industry regulation in Kenya took centre stage, with contributions from Dr. Christopher Wanga, the Chairperson of the Kenya Veterinary Board and the co-Chair of the Technical Committee for the proposed Kenya Food & Drugs Authority.
The Committee used the event as one of the public participation forums, as the regulation continues to draw keen interest from the food industry stakeholders.
Richard Fritz, a consultant for the Food and Agriculture Export Alliance (FAEA), USA, Julia Otaya, the Scientific and Regulatory Affairs Manager –East and Central Africa Franchise at Coca-Cola, and Roya Galindo – Director, Regulatory Services, North America Meat Institute, USA, joined him in the Panel.
The panelists agreed that for Kenya to formulate a new regulator, there is need to consult widely with industry stakeholders locally and to seek expertise and learn from other regulators across the world, so that they do not make the same mistakes these regulators made in setting up their structures.
Roya also gave a presentation on the regulatory structure of and how the U.S government inspects and regulates various food products, while Julia gave a local perspective on the regulatory systems and challenges in Eastern Africa.
In a related public participation presentation, the Kenya Dairy Board presented the upcoming dairy regulations to the attendees, stressing that the regulations are meant to streamline the sector, improve quality and food safety, while allowing for innovations and free trade, without leaving out the farmer.
Keynote speaker introduced
“We have found out that the idea of having a keynote speaker is one of the most outstanding components we have incorporated at AFMASS events, and has become very popular with the event delegates,” says Francis Juma, the team leader at FoodWorld Media, the organisers of the event.
This year, Bharat Shah, the Director of Kenafric Industries Ltd, the leading confectionery company based in Nairobi, graced the event.
He shared the journey that the company has gone through since its start in the late 1980s, and the future of the company in changing times.
The next edition of AFMASS events is slated for August 22-23, 2019 in Kigali, Rwanda, as the region’s fastest growing food, beverage and milling industry event is set to open new grounds in Rwanda and the Great Lakes region of Africa.
This will be followed with the AFMASS Southern Africa edition that will be taking place in Lusaka, Zambia on October 10-12, 2019.
Meanwhile, look out for more reports, videos and presentations about this latest event on the event website and the FoodBusinessAfrica.com website in the coming two weeks for a more comprehensive coverage of the event. More information about the AFMASS events can be found at www.afmass.com