lessons learned, testimonials, experiences in various sectors and geographies.
to the business community with your views and opinions on crisis mitigation and responses.
best practices, relevant news and articles, ways forward to go through the COVID-19 storm.
Selected Testimonial from ITC’s Market Access Upgrade Programme (MARKUP)
The impact of COVID-19 has led to a 30% cut in turnover on wholesale exports, and a 99% cut in local retail sales, due to the lack of tourism, compared to the previous years. SMEs in East Africa will need to rethink their marketing strategies, focus more on local markets, and might delay with investments for the next growth stages. It is quite likely that that some SMEs will reduce staffing
"Before COVID-19, our sales came from local and international business. We run a coffee shop, with tourists constituting 80% of our customers. Once COVID-19 hit, sales took a hit. By March 31st 2020, the sales in our coffee shop had already dropped by more than 50%, due to limited movement. I would ask for support in accessing the coffee markets abroad, via International coffee forums targeting sustainable double certifications of Organic coffee and Fairtrade labels."
"Before the Covid-19 crisis, we had projections of selling 6 containers of coffee, 1 container of cocoa and 2 containers of cotton. We have been able to meet the production projections, since by the time of the pandemic, we were at the tail end of our main season. To help our business: We would ask the following: 1) Resources to enable us scale FT and Organic certification to all our farmers (not all are covered with existing certification) 2) Trade Finance for the coming season (July - December 2020), since with the current situation, we might not be able to fully pay the current loans since we might not meet our export sales projections."
"I would ask the International Community/Donors/Business Partners to be in solidarity with SMEs in these challenging times. SMEs have long-term loans from banks; therefore, if the exporting contracts are affected in any way, companies may go out of business. The International Community should look at how SMEs can get financial relief or any support to stay in business, even when the Covid-19 situation worsens. Also, as we are entering the coffee harvesting and processing period, business partners can support SMEs that work directly with farmers to distribute masks, soap/hand sanitizers, hand-wash stations to wet mills to allow harvesting coffee processing to continue while following sanitary and social distancing measures."