Growing possibilities for regional trade
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CTA. 2001. Growing possibilities for regional trade. Spore 93. CTA, Wageningen, The Netherlands.
Permanent link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/10568/46173
Internet URL: http://spore.cta.int/images/stories/pdf/old/spore93.pdf
When your traditional major suppliers and major markets are five or ten thousand kilometres away, it makes sense to see if there are possibilities to develop trade nearer home, even if your neighbours are one or two days sailing away.Such is the...
When your traditional major suppliers and major markets are five or ten thousand kilometres away, it makes sense to see if there are possibilities to develop trade nearer home, even if your neighbours are one or two days sailing away. Such is the reality for producers and traders in the countries and entities of the Indian Ocean: the Comoros Islands, Madagascar, Mauritius, Reunion and Seychelles. Inter-island trade accounts for only 3% of their current commercial exchanges, but there is much to be done to increase it, whilst ensuring that the relevant quality standards conform to those of international trade. The economies of the Comoros and Madagascar are largely agricultural, with a major focus on the domestic market; for them, many export opportunities remain to be seized. The other three islands are more open to the international market and, partly because of a well-developed up-market tourist trade, they have a heavy dependence on imported foodstuffs. To switch these imports from the traditional sources of China, Europe, India, Kenya, and South Africa to imports from neighbouring islands could reduce costs significantly. The catch lies in the perennial issue of quality, in both products and the delivery chain, in particular in the sector of processing raw and fresh foods (fish, meats and fruit and vegetables). It was to address the issue of how to develop and strengthen small enterprises in inter-island trade that the CTA, together with the International Labour Organisation and the integrated regional programme for development of trade exchanges (PRIDE), organised a seminar in the Malagasy capital Antananarivo in March 2001. Their painstaking preparations in surveying the state-of-trade, product by product, country by country, provide insights in both end-products and methods that may be of interest to other island groupings. The thirty participants urged greater harmonisation between countries on food quality and health standards, the removal of tariffs, and accessibility of market information, the latter being more likely if the various information network initiatives in the region, once operational, were to be more closely integrated and regional mechanism more active. Clearly, by working together to improve exports to each other, the five countries concerned will strengthen their ability to trade on the global market. [caption to illustration] Spices: part of the pattern of trade since time immemorial PRIDE BP 34, Antananarivo 101, Madagascar Fax: + 261 20 64136 Website: www.coi-info.org/pride