President Mutharika said his government was committed and determined to transforming Malawi from a predominantly importing country to an exporting one, but that it will need concerted efforts from all stakeholders including the private sector.
"International markets are becoming competitive therefore local businesses need to produce high quality products to meet the standards. There is also need for businesses to embrace new technologies to enable our firms maximize production," said Mutharika in part.
This year's International Trade Fair and will be running from today to the 29th June under the theme "Productivity: A key to exploiting export opportunities".
Over 200 businesses and a handful of international exhibitors are participating in this year’s International trade fair, which has in recent years attracted participation from countries such as Egypt, Tanzania, Zambia and South Africa.
The foreign participants add value and colour to the Trade Fair through the business interactions and deals with local enterprises and the public.
However the story is different this year as out of the 250 participating companies, only 4 pavilions are for participants from Kenya and Zimbabwe and Zambia.
This is a drop from last year, where 7 countries took part, with exhibits in 11 pavilions.
The Trade Fair has been organised by the Malawi Confederation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry (MCCCI), whose representatives are proposing strong collaboration between the private sector and the government to ensure increased impact of international trade fairs.
Speaking during the opening ceremony, MCCCI President Newton Kambala says the fair has not yielded the anticipated results since its inception. It had been hoped that the fairs would assist business players explore new markets and establish connections with firms from outside.
This comes against background that some players have failed to get international partnerships and attract clients through poor showing of their products during previous fairs.
Meanwhile, some companies have been awarded for their best exhibitions at the Trade Fair. They include: Protofeeds from the manufacturing sector, while for service sector the award has gone to Finca Malawi.
Transglobe limited has been awarded as best exports exhibitor, while Greenland Services have outdone their fellow SME’s.
Best Foreign exhibitor award has gone to Kings and Queens outfit from Zambia.
Overall best exhibitor award has gone to Illovo Sugar Malawi.