Small and Medium Enterprises Competitiveness Facility (SCF) yesterday launched a tailor-made training on food processing for SMEs Chief Executive Officers (CEOs) and their staff to build their capacity for both domestic and international competitiveness.
Speaking shortly before officiating at the training, SCF’s Business Manager Michael Bulemo said the training which involves SMEs in dairy and sunflower oil processing industries, will equip the officials with business management skills capable of assisting them to operate competitively in terms of producing quality products at reasonable cost with best marketing strategies.
He said the training will help them to improve their company’s internal management competencies, strengthen sourcing and distribution channels and also will introduce the basics of quality and food safety standards requirements by niche domestic and international markets.
The five-day training which is held in Morogoro is being conducted by Sokoine University of Agriculture- Department of Agricultural Economics and Agribusiness (SUA – DAEA) under the auspices of (Sokoine University of Agriculture – Bureau of Agricultural Consultancies and Advisory Services (SUA BACAS).
Bulemo said this training will help SCF’s intention to address internal competencies gaps amongst food processing SMEs in Tanzania.
Meanwhile, Head of Department of Agricultural Economics and Agribusiness (SUA – DAEA) Dr Damas Philips said these gaps were identified by SCF in her mapping study that covered 100 registered food processing SMEs in Tanzania, its regular business mentoring visits to SMEs and through its value chain validation studies conducted in November 2011 and validated by stakeholders workshops in December 2011.
Dr Philips said amongst the gaps in internal skills and competences identified included identification of market opportunities, whereby most SMEs are able to sell their products, but their volumes are small and prices are not very competitive due to high production costs.
“Adoption of appropriate market positioning, whereby most SMEs serve ‘all’ and by doing so, they lose focus and overstretch their resources, consequently their customers become unsatisfied by the products.
“Many SMEs in Tanzania have informal plans to bring their products in the market place, they do not put their operational and marketing plans on paper and they don’t work consistently towards achieving the planned goals. Many find it costly to formalise/document their strategy and engaging experts to assist in development of a bankable business plan,” said Dr Philips.
On the other hand, Bulemo mentioned that the training would equip participants with the following skills; financial management skills, marketing, inventory management, cost structure, working capital planning, supply chain alignment, and quality and safety standards issues.
He also mentioned that SCF had introduced a Point of Sales (POS) database which was now available for food processors in the country at a cost of USD100, to help them have easy access to crucial market information that will assist them access potential new markets and to increase their sales volumes.