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Strong lineup for inaugural SMART Horticulture Asia on Sept 8

Conference programme now complete with new speakers confirmed for the first-ever conference on SMART Horticulture Asia in Hong Kong.

SMART Horticulture Asia is bringing together the top experts from around the globe and from the business sectors of cultivation, supply chain, technology, and information management to discuss, network, and share knowledge on cutting-edge data and horticulture topics.

The new one-day conference will take place next Thursday, September 8, in Hong Kong during Asia Fruit Logistica.

Disruptive technologies such as drones, robots and big data are among the topics in the conference programme that significant attention will be paid to. Attendees at targeted sessions will learn how modern business models driven by this kind of innovation are changing in Asia.

At the plenary session on SMART Information Exchange, CHIC Group CEO E. Zhu and Fruitday founder L. Zhao will share their views on the likely changes to Asian business models.

Zhu said his address will draw on a case illustrating how an agribusiness company can achieve sustainable development and globalisation by effectively applying open innovation in its technology and business model.

Meanwhile, speakers at the breakout session on SMART Information Exchange will cover issues such as how to convey the increasing amount of information collected at farm level to the rest of the supply chain, and which data sets are essential for managing farms as well as ensuring food safety.

GS1 Hong Kong’s C. Yin will share how to deliver food safety by using Global Standards harmonised with international retail requirements.

Issues such as how to align the digital world with traditional communication channels will be covered at the SMART Customer breakout session. There, B. van der Veen, managing director of Artic Solutions, Shanghai, will give his vision on how to serve the Asian customer with an omnichannel approach while keeping your brand up front.

Conference chairman H. Schmeitz said that, with speakers from three continents and various disciplines, the first SMART Horticulture Asia conference will be a unique event, looking forward to see not only what new but how the industry is seizing the opportunities this new technology offers.   

SMART Horticulture Asia is owned by Global Produce Events GmbH, organiser of Asia Fruit Logistica, the only annual trade show for the fresh fruit and vegetable business in Asia, and is powered by Frug I Com, organiser of the EU Fresh Info Forum and Round Table, which takes place every year in the Netherlands.

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Freshfel Europe calls for ongoing talks with Russian authorities

Freshfel says exporters have made great efforts to diversify their export destinations but gaining access to new third country markets has proved time-consuming, technically complex and costly and volumes to newly opened markets remain small compared to the significant trade that was previously in place with Russia.

In the wake of the EU’s confirmation of the extension of economic sanctions against Russia until January 31, Freshfel Europe has called on the European Commission to maintain dialogue with Russian authorities in order to try to restore business as fast possible for fresh produce.

In a press release, Freshfel, the European fresh produce association, said the confirmation of the ongoing EU sanctions – which came after Russia’s recent announcement of the extension of its own embargo on food products for the next 18 months – is the continuation of a political dispute which has severely hit the fresh produce trade.

“The introduction of the ban in August 2014 affected an export volume of 2.5 million tons of fruit and vegetable worth more than €2.2 billion. This corresponds to roughly one third of the total burden of agri-food products originating in Western European countries affected by the embargo,” it said.

“In particular the trade with apple, pear and tomato suffer severely from the loss of an important key market. Only for the commodity apple, the EU exporters lost a market supplied with 790,000 tons of apple. The trade with tomato dropped from its 230,000 tons of export and also the export of pears worth 200,000 tons came to a standstill.

“The embargo does not only have an impact on export, but also led to high price pressure for the most affected commodities in the internal market. Moreover, the sanctions continue to deprive Russian consumer’s access to European fresh produce, which were increasingly demanded in the years prior the ban.

“When the embargo was introduced, the sector welcomed the immediate response of the European Commission, providing exceptional measures to counterbalance the effects of the interrupted trade relations. Unfortunately, the measures had only limited effects. Some free distribution benefits, being part of the recovery package, are now generating new indirect market difficulties. Free distribution to charity is the main destination of distribution of surplus volumes within the exceptional scheme, but free access to the distributed products for the consumer influences commercial opportunities for the operators. With the beginning of the third season under embargo, even less budget will be available for the year to come.”

Freshfel said EU exporters have made great efforts to diversify their export destinations but gaining access to new third country markets has proved time-consuming, technically complex and costly. It said volumes to newly opened markets remain small compared to the significant trade that was previously in place with Russia.

Read Freshfel’s full statement here: