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The first edition of Digital Agrifood Summit Portugal closes with significant international participation

The first edition of Digital Agrifood Summit Portugal closes with significant international participation
Photo: Mint

Hundreds of international buyers from 61 countries held business meetings with the 74 Portuguese companies that ‘exhibited’ at Digital Agrifood Summit Portugal between 20 and 23 January. The pioneering online trade show organized by the Portuguese Agrofood Cluster – a group made up of PortugalFoods, Inovcluster, Agrocluster do Ribatejo, Portugal Fresh and ViniPortugal (Wines of Portugal) – was a major joint promotional collaboration that underlined the tremendous international interest in Portuguese wines and agri-food products. Wines, meat and fish, cheeses and charcuterie, olive oils and olives, fruit and vegetables,  confectionary, beers, frozen foods, condiments, sauces, preserves and a host of other quality products found their optimum digital showcase in this event.

“In a year when most international trade fairs were cancelled or greatly reduced in size, we wanted to offer our exporters an affordable and simple opportunity to make contact with buyers from all over the world,” said Amândio Santos, the President of PortugalFoods and head of the Portuguese Agrofood Cluster. “This was a bold, pioneering and risky venture that brought together the whole Portuguese agri-food sector like never before. Now we know what we are capable of, although there is always room for future improvements, our intention is to maintain the momentum generated by this event so it becomes a fixture on the international scene. Digital Agrifood Summit Portugal is part of a more comprehensive plan that the Portuguese Agrofood Cluster intends to implement, driving the sector on the path towards a true digital transformation,” added Santos.

The organizers rated the experience very highly and estimate that firm business deals reached as a result of the meetings held through the platform will have a significant impact on the exports of the companies that took part.

In addition to the business meetings, which formed the core of the event, participants and exhibitors were able to attend virtual talks and conferences on subjects of interest to them. New regulations, export processes, international certifications, Community legislation, EU trade policy and national foreign policy were some of the topics discussed. The conferences were attended by the international delegations of the Portuguese Trade and Investment Agency (AICEP), providing an overview of the markets in the post-Covid era. Various other sector events, such as those organized by the Portuguese wine industry, rounded off the agenda of sessions.

With Digital Agrifood Summit Portugal, the country continues on its ambitious export drive. At present, Portugal is negotiating around 200 treaties to guarantee the entry in the short-term of new food products in 59 countries on five continents. The agri-food sector already accounts for more than 11% of Portugal’s national exports, worth 6,500 million euros per year, and employs around 300,000 people in a country with an active workforce of 5.5 million people.

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Portuguese innovations in food are put on show to the world at the Digital Agrifood Summit Portugal 2021

Portuguese innovations in food are put on show to the world at the Digital Agrifood Summit Portugal 2021
Photo: Digital Agrifood Summit Portugal

The European Innovation Scoreboard (EIS 2020) recently classified Portugal as a ‘strongly innovative’ country. Analysts place Portugal above the European average in the categories of innovation-friendly environment, innovation systems, and business innovation. These results are the outcome of Portuguese companies’ firm commitment to R&D, as well as a collaborative working framework in which the private sector has cooperated with the public sector for decades on development programmes.

The strong Portuguese agri-food sector is a prime example of this innovative spirit. Its proactive nature is reflected in consistent export growth and numerous initiatives aimed at maintaining the Portuguese food industry in a prominent position worldwide. “Technological evolution has been promoted through the dissemination of information and initiatives that raise awareness, foster empowerment, and facilitate the implementation of digitization solutions by national agri-food companies,” declared Amândio Santos, the president of PortugalFoods.

The Digital Agrifood Summit Portugal, to be held as an online event on 20-23 January 2021, is one of these pioneering projects. The event was created by the associations of Portugal Foods, Portugal Fresh, Inovcluster and Agrocluster do Ribatejo, which together make up the Portuguese Agrofood Cluster.

The forum will serve as a showcase and meeting point for dozens of Portuguese companies and hundreds of international buyers. Fruit and vegetables, fish and canned goods, meat and charcuterie, quality oils, wines and spirits, confectionary and other gourmet products, are just some of the Portuguese products that will be showcased at the event.

Buyers interested in taking part in the Digital Agrifood Summit Portugal can now register free of charge here: https://bit.ly/DASP2021