The company, Alko Vintages Co Limited which produces a variety of premium quality wines including the popular in-flight Image brand served on Air Tanzania said in Dar es Salaam yesterday during a press conference to market the event that the initiative has come at the right time.
“We have invested a lot in terms of money, expertise and state-of-the-art technology and so I urge Tanzanians to develop a culture of consuming locally made wines as currently over 70% of wine consumed in the country are imported while grape growing in the country can support 80% and more of the Tanzanian market share,” Archard Kato, the company’s Managing Director said.
The campaign dubbed Mkeka na Mvinyo was launched in Dar es Salaam on Tuesday this week with the first event planned for February 14 at the Whitesands Hotel to mark the Valentine Day, starting 6pm.
Kato added that the Alko Vintages produces good quality wines which are consumed in the local market with Dompo as the flagship brand which has been a house-hold name for the last decade.
Furthermore, Alko Vintages products have surpassed the local market and crossed borders for export as well and more wine brands in varying high-quality packages are in the pipeline.
“We are excited to be associated with this novel idea which complements the government’s agenda on industrialization by giving the local producers an opportunity to sell their wine which is revered all over the East and Central African region but consumed very little by Tanzanians”, said Archard Kato.
He said that increased consumption of Tanzanian wines will also translate into famers selling more grapes thus improving their household income as well as poverty reduction.
“Let’s support our fellow Tanzanian grape farmers and the nation in general by consuming local wines which are of top quality”, he said.
The event organized by Real PR Solutions (RPR), an integrated communications company aims to make The Valentine Day a memorable one with the loved ones sitting on mkeka while sipping the world-class wines produced in Tanzania.
For her part, the Event Coordinator, Caroline Kirwanda, said that similar events will also be held during Easter, Dar es Salaam International Trade Fair (DITF) at SabaSaba grounds and during the festive season in Dodoma, Arusha, Mwanza, Kagera and Kilimanjaro.
Ms Caroline said that the themed “Wine Not?” event also helps to unlock a broken supply chain between grape farmers, mainly in Dodoma whose produce have fetched very low price as the producers are unable to sell in large numbers due to low local consumption of wine.
“As the name suggests, instead of having chairs and tables, revellers will use locally made mats. The whole idea is to have a picnic-like set-up that allows participants to fully activate their relaxation mode, where they will have freedom to stretch or lie down on their mats as they deem necessary’’ she said.
Sponsors of the event include the Tanzania Tourist Board (TTB), GS1, Tanzania Standard Newspapers, publishers of Daily News, HabariLeo and SpotiLeo, Whitesands Hotel, Capital Plus International, Afrimax Strategic Partnerships Limited and Amen Group.
Ms Caroline said that the event is part of a bigger campaign to be rolled out nationally in April this year aimed at promoting the domestic tourism and the same time unlock various business opportunities to spur economic growth.
“We need to promote massive local consumption to stimulate economic growth”, she added.
The event will also provide a unique platform for networking where the revellers can meet together and exchange ideas over food and several bottles of wine.
“Unless it is a wine tasting event, wine without an assortment of other alternative drinks plus an array of different kinds of meat (both red and white) might not be very enticing to many. Besides this, there will be great entertainment in the background”, she said, adding:
“This year, Valentine’s Day falls on a Thursday, which is a working day. We appreciate that most people will be working on that day and that’s why Mkeka na Mvinyo promises to be a classy but informal way to “wine down” after work’’ She adds