Farmers and traders have thronged the fifth edition of Arahah Market organized by the Abuja Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ACCI) to showcase their farm produce and other indigenous made-in-Nigeria products.
Participants in the market were drawn from the six area councils of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Abuja, FCT Ndi Igbo Ruling Councils, Aba, and other traders from environs.
Arahah, a hybrid market is an initiative of ACCI implemented in partnership with the Women Arise Development Humanitarian Initiative (WADHI) established to provide high-quality, affordable produce and expand business skills of women businesses.
In her remarks on the occasion, the ACCI president, Dr. Al-Mujtaba Abubakar, explained that the aim of the market expo was to support and promote digital trading platforms for local businesses and SMEs, training and capacity building, improved sustainable agricultural production and e-commerce.
He said since the unveiling of the market in December it had witnessed improved patronage, adding “the market is a platform set aside to boost revenue generating capacities, bridge the middlemen gap and grant market access to customers,” pointing out that this special edition had brought together business persons from various trades with special focus on the South East traders.
He also said the concept of the digital trading platform which is also a component of the market would greatly increase the access to market and remove logistics and bottlenecks associated to the physical markets.
“I am particularly impressed that the Arahah market will serve as a gateway to economic development by bringing producers, regulators, off-takers and exporters of commodities within the African countries and globally together in one location. I want to use this platform to renew the commitment of the chamber, to continuously provide platforms to market products and services and encourage packaging for exports that meets regulatory requirements and international best practices,” he said.
The ACCI director-general, Victoria Akai in her speech also said in support of the women the chamber decided to create a platform where women could interact with buyers, support them to increase production, create market access for them and also bring them to interact with stakeholders so that the stakeholders would know the issues the women in business are facing and then, provide the requisite support.
She said the issue of looking for white collar jobs was not the in-thing now because there are lots of opportunities in business with the COVID-19 issues especially that have opened lots of opportunities in business.
“There are many online businesses now that one can explore. There is no need to wait for employment but we can always create it right where we are.
“Even for the married women that may not want to leave the comfort of their homes, Arahah Market is a hybrid market and we have both the physical and the online where they can connect and do their businesses,” she said.
The DG also said women who could not go to market to carry out their businesses on daily bases, could come once in a month to bring on board their businesses online and then continue to sell afterwards.
Earlier in her remarks, the market convener, Mrs. Esther Mshelia, said the initiative was about networking in business, adding women from across Africa could meet where they could trade without boundaries.
“The idea behind the market is market access, exposure, financial management and keeping your record well so that when the helper or the banks want to help you, they will find your record in order and judged ready for support,” she pointed out.
On the occasion, the WADHI Knowledge on the Go Application (KOWGO) app was launched to give women easy access to online marketing of their businesses.
In his opening remark at the launch of the application, Abubakar described KOWGO as a digital application to help women in their businesses, adding WADHI was living up to its name by developing the application.
He said the initiative would revolutionalise how women do business, in the areas of accounting, marketing, selling and also facilitate wider contact within and outside their regions.
“ACCI is proud of this initiative and will continue to give its support to anything that will be favourable to women in business. WADHI is a partner in progress with ACCI and we will continue to give all the support so that you will be able to actualize your potentials,” he added.