In contrast to other regions of the world few tourists visit Africa
and little is known about that continent. The same is true for the market in Africa
that is distinctive and difficult to penetrate.
These difficulties did not deter the "Hazera"
company from starting operations in Africa
five years ago even though this development demanded considerable investment. The following article features an interview conducted with Jawdat , who is in charge of sales for "Hazera" company in the Middle East and Africa
The "Hazera" company works in Ethiopia through a local distributor, and with the help of its own agronomists this business can realize its potential to work with the farmers, conduct trials and offer the growers suitable plant varieties.
The local distributor's operations are supported in full by the "Hazera" company, which provides training and professional consultations for that local company's agronomists. This cooperation aims to train the people to improve their knowledge when advising the farmers about what to sow, and how to irrigate and fertilize the crops optimally.
Jawdat notes that "Hazera Ltd" efforts are directed towards helping to modify the varieties supplied and so demand no change in the existing irrigation methods (the most common method is flood irrigation). An additional objective is to familiarize the local farmers with the hybrid varieties and their inherent advantages such as larger yields from the same cultivated area.
Jawdat also noted that the three most common crops in the local diet are onions, tomatoes and cabbage. Hot peppers are significant in some areas while watermelons are consumed but these are not an essential item in the culinary culture.
In Africa the majority of farmers (99%) are smallholders who own plots of land ranging in area between 5,000 and 10,000 m2, while the remaining 1% own large modern farms, in partnership with foreign investors and their produce are grown for export. As the larger estates employ their own agronomists, it is the smallholders who stand to gain from Hazera's work and its representatives demonstrate how these farmers can bring in a harvest that is five to ten times larger than the yield produced when using non-hybrid varieties.
The sales manager for "Hazera" in Africa spends most of the time at remote locations throughout the continent, visiting the people where they live, and by studying the prevailing conditions can select the varieties best suited to the customers' needs. Trials are conducted on site and the work takes climatic differences into consideration as the varieties' genetics can be modified to suit them.
Based on their experience, "Hazera Ltd" is optiistic about the African market and expects to see a sea-change in the continent during the coming decade. Modern technologies enable the local inhabitants to keep up-to-date with the latest global developments and governments are now willing to listen and shift some resources to the population to improve knowledge, opportunities and the quality of life.