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Macfrut 2021: a truly special edition

Macfrut 2021: a truly special edition © MACFRUT
Luigi Bianchi, Renzo Piraccini (President of Macfrut), Fabiana Fiorini, Stefano Gagliardi


The 37th edition of the International trade fair for the fresh produce industry, to be held from 7 to 9 September at the Rimini Expo Centre, has a new format: an on-site exhibition and digital opportunities. Many focus areas: the Italian Retailer Business Lounge with the Italian large-scale retail trade, the Biosolutions International Event, International Asparagus Days and a B2B Meeting Agenda. Sardinia as the Partner Region. The China Day on 6 September.

Cesena, 5th February 2021 – 2021 is the International Year of Fruit and Vegetables: let’s meet up in Rimini. Macfrut, the International trade fair for the fresh produce industry, will be held again at the Rimini Expo Centre from Tuesday 7 to Thursday 9 September 2021, a special edition with a new format and activities. Fieravicola, the International Poultry Exhibition, will take place on the same days. On Monday 6 September, instead, a major event exclusively dedicated to business with China will take place: The China Day.

It is not just that the date has been shifted (it was previously scheduled for 4-6 May), but it will also be a special edition combining the essential role of a business fair and in-person relationships with the opportunities that the digital world offers to companies seeking to expand their business abroad. The brand new format of this trade fair for sector professionals leverages the know-how of the 37 editions held thus far, with the addition of a groundbreaking online experience, which was successfully introduced with the first edition of Macfrut Digital. Basically, those who will take part in Macfrut 2021 will have not only a stand on site at the trade fair but also a virtual stand on a digital platform (, which will allow them to expand their business opportunities in both directions.

Many Focus Areas

At the same time as the trade part, the Macfrut Special Edition will offer several focus areas on the world of fruit and vegetables. Starting with the Partner Region, Sardinia, located in the heart of the Mediterranean area and renowned for its high-quality agricultural produce such as the spiny artichoke, the Carciofo Spinoso di Sardegna DOP, and its saffron, Zafferano di Sardegna DOP.

A major event, the Biosolutions International Event, will be dedicated to the biostimulant and biocontrol supply chains. This event comprises: an international exhibition dedicated to biostimulant producers, addressed to agricultural entrepreneurs and sector professionals. Alongside the exhibition part, there will be guided visits and an International Congress that will bring together the Mediterranean production chains and the world of biostimulants.

One of the greatest novelties of the 2021 edition will be the Italian Retailer Business Lounge, an exclusive area at the trade fair for the large-scale retail trade and Italian distributors, where targeted meetings with exhibitors will be arranged through a dedicated business matching programme in collaboration with Think Fresh by Agroter.

Another novelty is the fourth edition of the International Asparagus Days which, for the first time, will be held simultaneously with Macfrut. It is a focus session dedicated to the entire asparagus industry with an exhibition area hosting specialist companies and a conference area with the latest technical and commercial updates.

Last but not least, the B2B Meeting Agenda will offer visitors the opportunity to manage their time at the trade fair by planning meetings through the virtual stand, which will be made available to all exhibitors who join the initiative: it will be possible to organise meetings on site, for those who will physically participate in the event, or online for those who will be connecting remotely. Exhibitors can also prepare their own meeting agenda in advance by scheduling appointments with specially selected international buyers.

Renzo Piraccini, President of Macfrut:

“Once again, Macfrut has pioneered an innovative, future-oriented project. There is a great desire in the industry to meet in person, to enjoy the human contact that we have been longing for such a long time. At the same time, we are aware of the fact that the current situation has completely changed the way we see things. The Macfrut Special Edition, scheduled for 7-9 September, addresses both needs: physical presence and digital opportunities. Last September, we were the first to organise a virtual trade fair for the fruit and vegetable sector, and we want to be the first to offer an innovative format that combines a physical and digital trade fair in one.”

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Macfrut looks to the future

Macfrut looks to the future


The 37th edition of the International trade fair for the fruit and vegetable sector is scheduled to be held from 4 to 6 May at the Rimini Expo Centre. Melon will be the key product, with Sardinia as the Partner Region and an international focus on Central Asia. One of the novelties will be the Spices & Herbs Global Expo exhibition.


Cesena, 14 October 2020 – Macfrut looks to the future with optimism. In order to meet the expectations of its target audience, the international trade fair for the fruit and vegetable sector is set to take place in May 2021 as a major face-to-face event, hoping that the Covid-19 emergency will be over by then: the 37th edition of Macfrut is scheduled to be held from 4 to 6 May 2021 at the Rimini Expo Centre.

Melon will be the event’s key product, symbolising the quality of Italian fruits and vegetables, and will be discussed and promoted during a series of events involving buyers and visitors.

The Partner Region will be Sardinia, a region where the fruit and vegetable sector significantly increases the total value of domestic agricultural production (23%).

Alongside these novelties, the new exhibition project, the Spices & Herbs Global Expo, which was put on hold due to the Covid-19 emergency, will be resumed. It is the first exhibition in Europe dedicated to the world of spices, officinal plants and aromatic herbs, which is set to become a global meeting point for producers, technicians, researchers, traders and processors. It will be complemented by an extensive programme of conferences and dedicated events, including the presentation of the Observatory on spices and officinal herbs, created as a result of the partnership between Cesena Fiera and ISMEA (Institute of Services for the Agricultural Food Market).

There will be an international focus on “Fruits and spices along Marco Polo’s route”, and the emerging markets of the Far East will be in the spotlight, especially those of Central Asia and of the Indian Ocean, where fruit, vegetable and spice sales are growing rapidly.

The first initiatives to promote Macfrut 2021 internationally will take place in Central Asia – specifically in Uzbekistan and Azerbaijan – which, in this first phase, will be in digital mode. Presentations are also scheduled in South America (Colombia, Chile, Cuba and Peru), Africa (Zambia) and, in particular, in China, with which we will continue our partnership established during Macfrut Digital. Once again, the ICE Agenzia – Italian Trade Agency offices around the world and Macfrut’s network of foreign agents will play a strategic role.

The commitment to digitisation also continues. In fact, two of the main Forums of Macfrut 2021 will be hosted on a digital platform as well, as in the recent edition of Macfrut Digital. Two events will be held both face to face and online: the Acqua Campus, showcasing innovations in irrigation, and Macfrut Field Solution, dedicated to cutting-edge technologies for the horticultural sector, with a special focus on melons. The other two main focus sessions of Macfrut, instead, will take place in the traditional format: the Biosolutions International Congress, dedicated to the biostimulant and biocontrol industries, and the Greenhouse Technology Village, dedicated to greenhouse horticulture innovation.

With this road map in mind, the President of Macfrut, Renzo Piraccini, is optimistic: ‘Although the current situation calls for caution,’ he says, ‘we are convinced that in May 2021 we will have the right conditions in place to hold a major event, which is something the fruit and vegetable industry really needs. If this is not the case, we have prepared alternative options that we will take into consideration, in a very pragmatic way, together with our exhibitors.’ 

Macfrut Digital between 2020 and 2021

The outcome of the first trade fair for the fruit and vegetable sector held on a digital platform was positive. Despite some difficulties in the initial phase, the numbers speak for themselves: 32,212 participants during the three-day event, with 18,164 individual professional visitors and 219,524 pages viewed.

It recorded a large number of foreign participants: 49% of visitors were from abroad representing 152 countries, of which 60% from Europe, 12% from North Africa, 10% from Sub-Saharan Africa, 6% from the Far East and Australia, and 4% from North America, Russia and Eastern Europe. A total of 600 buyers registered on the platform, 4,492 B2B meetings were requested, and 3,840 messages were sent via the “Write to us” button.

The exhibition halls most popular among visitors were Production and Trade (8,421 visitors), the International Halls (5,203), Machinery and Systems (3,424), Packaging (3016) and Plant nurseries (2,200).

An interesting figure is the number of visits: 52.5% through mobile devices and tablets, 47.5% through desktop computers.

The Macfrut Digital project will be repeated, packed with new content, from 28 to 30 September 2021 in parallel with another global event: the International Asparagus Days.

Therefore, Macfrut continues to take a digital approach to be integrated with the “traditional” trade fair format.

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The countdown begins for Macfrut Digital

The countdown begins for Macfrut Digital


The numbers of the first and only digital trade fair for the fresh produce industry, to be held from 8 to 10 September, are outstanding: 530 exhibition spaces, 40% of which will be hosted by foreign companies, 600 registered buyers from all over the world and 4,000 registered visitors to date, 70% of which are from abroad.


Cesena, 28th August 2020 – The first edition of Macfrut Digital, the virtual trade fair for the fresh produce industry to be held from 8 to 10 September 2020, born from the intuition of Cesena Fiera, is drawing near. And the numbers recorded so far, just a few days before its official opening, prove that it was a good intuition: 530 exhibition units have been sold to 400 exhibitors (when the event was launched, the target was 200 units for a total of 150 exhibitors), registrations have sold out and companies have been put on a waiting list, with many foreign participants equal to 40% of the exhibiting companies and 600 buyers that have already registered on the platform, of which 550 from abroad. The ICE – Italian Trade Agency offices around the world and Cesena Fiera’s network of foreign agents played a key role in attracting buyers.

The most striking numbers are those relating to foreign participants. Nearly one in two exhibitors comes from abroad, with China leading the way with as many as 87 exhibitors, thanks to the collaboration with ATPC (Agricultural Trade Promotion Centre), the promotional body of the Chinese Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs, which was one of the supporters of the event. In addition to China, there will be several collective stands in the “Country Pavilion”, the international pavilion that has been added to the nine pavilions initially planned. Participants who have registered come from Central and South America (Colombia, Chile and the Dominican Republic) and there will be a large number of participants from Africa also in this digital edition of the event, thanks to partnerships established with UNIDO (United Nations Organisation for Industrial Development), Lab Innova and AICS (Italian Association for Culture and Sport). Not to mention Europe, with participants from Belgium, France, Germany, Greece, the Netherlands, Spain and Switzerland. There will also be many participants from Eastern Europe (Albania, Bulgaria and Ukraine).

Exhibitors will have a privileged channel where they will be able to “communicate” with the 600 buyers that have already registered on the platform (550 from abroad and 50 from Italy) and organise B2B meetings. In fact, Macfrut Digital will offer two levels of interaction: one for visitors, who will be able to visit the virtual stands, communicate with each other, ask for information and make contact to schedule business meetings, and the other for exhibitors, who will be able to schedule B2B meetings with buyers through a programmed agenda, with the support of Cesena Fiera’s staff in order to align the agendas and meet the specific interests of the buyers and companies involved. Macfrut Digital can be accessed from any Internet device (PC or smartphone), while B2B meetings will be accessible online but only from PC, via a dedicated link provided by the staff.

The Macfrut Digital platform can be accessed subject to registration, which is free of charge. As of today, more than 4,000 visitors have already registered, 70% of whom are from abroad. In the last few days, participation requests have increased exponentially. Therefore, those who are interested in participating should register as soon as possible to secure their participation, bearing in mind that a maximum number of 30,000 visitors is allowed.

Renzo Piraccini, President of Macfrut, explains: ‘We have embarked on a new adventure and we can safely say that the fruit and vegetable sector has responded extremely well. We believe that we are pioneering a project that has huge potential, which was unimaginable until a few months ago. The fact that the health emergency is ongoing, resulting in a level of uncertainty at international level, demonstrates that we made the right decision, which has changed the way we approach the sector.’


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Macfrut Digital: The fruit & vegetable world on your PC

Renzo Piraccini /// © Macfrut Digital


The Digital trade fair for the fresh produce industry, a three-day event for professionals with B2B meetings and buyers from all over the world, will take place from 8 to 10 September 2020, hosted by the Natlive platform. An absolute novelty in the trade fair scene of the industry.


Cesena, 12 May 2020 – Macfrut 2020 goes Digital. From 8 to 10 September 2020, Italy’s international showcase for the fresh produce industry will offer business opportunities through a digital platform that will bring together buyers from all over the world, opening up new international markets for the sector. This innovative project makes Macfrut the first digital trade fair for the fruit and vegetable industry.

The uncertainty surrounding the current health emergency has made it difficult to organise the traditional trade fair, now in its 37th edition, in the usual way. Italy is striving to reaffirm its leading position in the sector, and this approach is in line with the current possibilities offered by state-of-the-art technology, which provides a unique opportunity for the fruit and vegetable sector.

Hence the launch of Macfrut Digital, a professional, simple and effective virtual trade fair for the fruit and vegetable sector, which will be fully online. This virtual event will not replace the physical one, but given the current situation it is intended to give all professionals involved the opportunity to do business in the global market. Thanks to this interactive platform, exhibitors will be able to interact with the buyers and sector professionals who will “participate” in this three-day virtual event.

How Macfrut Digital will take place

All visitors, from all across Italy and from all over the world, will be able to access and participate in this three-day virtual trade fair by using a personal device (PC, tablet or smartphone). This system has three strengths: it is effective, since it allows participants to reach out to a large number of customers and markets directly from their workstation; it is simple, since it uses a platform that has been designed also for computer illiterate people; and it is inexpensive, free of charge for visitors and affordable for exhibitors.

But let’s go into detail. Macfrut Digital will consist of two areas: the Exhibition and the Forum. To log in, please register on (registration is free of charge). Once logged in, visitors will be able to view an interactive map broken down by product sector and explore all the virtual “stands” to find out more about an exhibitor’s product range, request information, and hold and live stream B2B meetings.

There are plenty of advantages for exhibitors: an agenda of scheduled meetings with buyers and the opportunity to interact, also face-to-face with live streaming, with professionals from all over the world.

More than 500 buyers, invited by the organisers, will be selected in collaboration with the ICE-Agency (Italian Trade Agency), with which Macfrut has been working together with excellent results for many years through its well-established network of foreign sales agents.

Buyers and business meetings are therefore at the heart of Macfrut Digital. Moreover, the costs for exhibitors are rather low: a virtual stand costs from 1,000 euros (the package includes a video presentation, a multimedia brochure, B2B live streaming, and an agenda of meetings with buyers).

In addition to covering the business side, Macfrut Digital will host Technical Forums. The international trade fair for the fruit and vegetable sector has always been an event rich in content and technical insights on key topics in the industry. As part of this long-standing commitment, during these three days Macfrut Digital will host a series of live-streamed conferences, which can be viewed on the Natlive platform, after registering free of charge. The topics covered will include innovations in horticulture, innovations in the greenhouse sector, Acquacampus and innovations in irrigation, and the Biostimulant Forum. The platform will also be available to exhibitors for dedicated events.

For more information, please visit

Watch the interview with Renzo Piraccini, President of Macfrut, where he presents the Digital Trade Fair:

Macfrut International Press Office:
Elena Vincenzi/Stefania Duminuco
International press office Macfrut c/o fruitecom – Mob. +39-340- 5588732


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Macfrut is postponed to 8-10 September 2020

Macfrut is postponed to 8-10 September 2020

Cesena, 9 March 2020 – Due to the progressive spread of the Covid-19 virus, the board of directors of Cesena Fiera decided to move Macfrut – the international trade fair for the fruit and vegetable sector – to 8-10 September 2020 in Rimini, instead of holding it on 5-7 May.

Macfrut International Press Office:

Elena Vincenzi/Stefania Duminuco

International press office Macfrut c/o fruitecom – Tel. +39-059-7863894

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Macfrut 2020, the Tropical Fruit Congress will be dedicated to avocados

Macfrut 2020, the Tropical Fruit Congress will be dedicated to avocados

The programme for the third edition of the Tropical Fruit Congress, the only event in Europe dedicated to exotic fruit, has been finalised: once again, it will be held during Macfrut, the international trade fair for the fresh produce industry, from 5 to 7 May 2020 at the Rimini Expo Centre, Italy 

Cesena, 26th February 2020 – A two-day event with more than ten international speakers and a single theme. These are the numbers of the third edition of the Tropical Fruit Congress, an international event to discuss exotic fruit, to be held during Macfrut on 6 and 7 May 2020. The star of the event will be a single fruit, namely avocado: in the last few years, avocado consumption has increased exponentially worldwide, especially in the EU. In fact, in the 2018-2019 season, avocado consumption in Europe increased by 19% over the previous season and by as much as 111% over 2013-2014, with an estimated total of 636,119 tonnes. In terms of sales volumes, the first consumer country in Europe is France, with 145,000 tonnes consumed, followed by the UK (105,633 tonnes), Germany (82,327 tonnes) and Spain (72,122 tonnes). Italy ranks sixth, with 22,340 tonnes, up 29% from 2017-2018 and up 248% from 2013-2014. However, in terms of per capita consumption, Denmark ranks first (2.69 kg), followed by Norway (non-EU country – 2.53 kg), the Netherlands (2.32 kg), France (2.16 kg) and Sweden (2.07 kg). (source: professional sources+Eurostat)

Data processed by CIRAD, based on EUROSTAT

The third edition of the Tropical Fruit Congress will be spread over two days. 

The first day will be Wednesday 6 May, from 2.30pm, with a session coordinated by Roberto Della Casa – Agroter/Bologna University, focusing on the avocado market in Europe. Daria Lodi of CSO Italy will explain consumption patterns in Europe; Thomas Padilla, Senior Director of Export Sales at Mission Produce, will focus on new countries that supply avocados to Europe, such as Peru, Colombia and Guatemala, and will explain how these supplies will help to meet the growing demand for consumption all year round; Said Bannany, Director of Total Exotics, instead, will talk about traditional supplier countries. These speeches will be followed by a round table on how to sell avocados in Europe, which will be attended by buyers and retailers who will share their direct experiences.

The second day will be Thursday 7 May, from 10am to 1.30pm, with a session coordinated by Pierre Escodo, Director of Eurofresh Distribution, focusing on production and post-harvest and what’s new in the sector. The speakers will provide an overview of the situation in several key countries in the sector: Michael Horney of Peruvian Agritrade will explain how the sector has evolved in Peru; Jorge Restrepo, Executive Director of Corpohass, will provide an overview of Colombia, while Andrea Passanisi of Sicilia Avocado will focus on avocado production in Italy. Speeches will also be given by Therese Bruwer of Westphalia, who will describe the various cultivars of each producer country, and Eelke Westra of Wageningen University who will present a research on improving avocado quality in the post-harvest phase. To conclude, a technical workshop on post-harvest innovations will be held, with the participation of major technological players.

Sponsorship: companies can be a sponsor at the Congress, in GOLD or SILVER mode. So far, the companies that have joined include Ziehl-Abegg, Aweta, TR Turoni, Spreafico, Felix-Instruments, Dole and Procomer – Essential Costa Rica.

Registration: registrations are now open and special rates are available until 31 March. For further information and to register online, please go to the “Register Now” section of the website 

For further information: 

For the press:

Elena Vincenzi/Stefania Duminuco

International press office Macfrut c/o fruitecom – Tel. +39-059-7863894

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Macfrut 2020: Central Asia and Africa in the spotlight

Macfrut 2020: Central Asia and Africa in the spotlight

From October to December, more than 10 international missions took place in Asia and Africa to promote the 37th edition of Macfrut, the international trade fair for the fresh produce industry, which will be held May 5-7 (2020) in Rimini, Italy. This year, it will also host the Spices & Herbs Global Expo, the first exhibition in Europe dedicated to the world of spices and officinal herbs. The outcome of this first series of promotional tours turned out to be highly satisfying – for the first time, the participation of a group of exhibitors from Central Asia was confirmed, including companies from Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Kyrgyzstan. As for the Caucasus region, there will be collective stands for Georgia and Azerbaijan, while Mali and Cameroon will be present for the first time in the African Pavilion.

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Apples, still-high europea stocks put the brake on price recovery

Apples, still-high europea stocks put the brake on price recovery

VOG Consortium CEO Gerhard Dichgans explains how the situation is evolving, in Italy and internationally. 

“As the export season begins in the Southern Hemisphere, the European apple market is still under pressure, with high stock levels putting the dampers on hopes of a forthcoming recovery in prices.” These are the words of Gerhard Dichgans, CEO of the VOG Consortium, in his latest update on the current international situation.

According to WAPA (World Apple and Pear Association) figures, stocks as of the first of April amounted to 2.3 million tonnes, not just 1.1 million more than the “lean year” of 2017/2018, but also 210,000 tonnes more than a normal season such as 2016/2017. There are surplus stocks not only in Poland but also in the historic production areas in western Europe. “The run-down in European stocks in February and March was below average,” Mr Dichgans states, “in spite of low prices and fiercely competitive quotes from growers. So the hopes for market recovery present at the start of the year have been confirmed only in part, with large differences between one variety and another.”

For the VOG Consortium’s apples, specifically, sales to Italian large-scale distributors have progressed well during the last two months, but the wholesale markets are still sluggish. Customers in Germany, which has been dominated by local supplies so far, are starting to up their purchases from South Tyrol – Südtirol, to bridge the gap over the coming months until imports from the Southern Hemisphere really come on stream. The UK and Scandinavia continue to be active, but, as forecast, Eastern Europe is still at a standstill. However, exports to Mediterranean countries are a pleasant surprise. Once again, the Middle East is proving to be a reliable destination. And as in the past, the huge Indian market is making the crucial difference; it has opened up to exports from Italy, since China (with its poor crop) and the USA have halved their supplies of apples.

“This highly fragmented picture on the markets we serve is perfectly reflected in the stock reduction trends of the individual varieties,” the VOG CEO comments. “The sales season for Royal Gala closed at the end of March, with constant demand from the Mediterranean countries helping us to keep in line with our sales plan. India has been our salvation for Red Delicious, although sales of the same variety are also on the increase in the Middle East after the end of the Royal Gala season. Demand for Granny Smiths has been moderate but steady across all markets. However, the situation for Golden Delicious and Braeburn is completely different. Concerning the Braeburn variety, the large local crop in Germany means the markets have been under pressure ever since the autumn, with very few openings for imports. It is only now that the large chains’ buyers are contacting us to plan the weeks left before the arrival of New Zealand Braeburns. The most relevant market for Golden Delicious is Italy: quotations are still low, fuelled by continual promotional offers which, however, are showing no signs of stimulating consumer demand. This variety is being further penalised by a high percentage of rusty and second grade apples, which are proving hard to sell in view of a plentiful offering of first grade fruit. This “heaviness” of the Italian market is surprising, since the product availability is in line with the average of the last 3 seasons – with the exception of 2017/2018 – and, considering the low first grade ‘pack-out’ percentage, there is actually a shortfall.”

Everyone on the market is now shifting their attention to the final phase of the sales season, which could be positive. “Southern hemisphere crop estimates,” Mr Dichgans explains, “lead us to hope that the quantity of apples available for shipping to Europe is lower than predicted. New Zealand, for example, has cut its estimates by 10%. Exporters from the Southern Hemisphere will focus first on the more lucrative markets in South East Asia, leaving Europe aside. Forecasts for exports to south-eastern Asia seem to be promising, in view of the poor Chinese crop I mentioned earlier.”

Initial import statistics confirm these expectations: by the end of March only 10,000 tonnes had reached Europe, while in the two previous years incoming volumes from the Southern Hemisphere were almost four times this amount. Imports will only increase for Club applies like Pink Lady®, for which European growers are unable to provide year-round coverage. “This will enable Europe to concentrate on disposing of its stocks,” Mr Dichgans concludes, “without having to worry about competition from imported apples. However, there is still a lot of the sales season to go, and there is no doubt that Golden Delicious stocks will hold out until September, overlapping with the arrival of the new 2019 crop. I wouldn’t expect any significant price increase in the coming months, partly because existing inventories make continuous sell-out essential.”

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The development of African agriculture in the spotlight at Macfrut

The development of African agriculture in the spotlight at Macfrut

At the meeting about Italian-African partnerships, case histories and projects of the Democratic Republic of Congo, Ethiopia, Somalia, Mozambique and Angola.

“Italy-Africa: a Renewed Partnership for Horticultural and Agro-Industrial Development”. This was the theme of the round table held at Macfrut in Rimini, which brought together ministers and representatives of the African agricultural sector and Italian institutions involved in African cooperation and development.

Emanuela Del Re, Italy’s Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, made an introductory address, highlighting Italy’s efforts to develop the skills of local workers through training (the only effective way of reducing the scourge of unemployment) and technology, and by introducing food safety criteria and transferring models for interconnecting agricultural supply chains. The potential advantages of the Italy-Africa partnership meet the need to address the continent’s growing population, which is expected to reach 4.7 billion by the end of the century. Huge expanses of arable land have not yet been exploited, so much so that only 30% are used: infrastructures need to be enhanced and new technologies and skills must be implemented, so that Africa can first meet its food demand and then supply other markets. As a leading country in the agro-industrial sector, Italy is the ideal partner in this process.

Thsibangu Kalala, Minister of Agriculture of the Democratic Republic of Congo, is aware of this and introduced the opening session entitled “Agriculture in Africa: Needs and Opportunities, Voices from the Continent”. ‘Agriculture has become a priority for the Congo,’ the Minister said. ‘We realised that the investments made in the mining sector did not bring the desired results and poverty is still widespread. Agriculture must be developed: we intend to support the credit system for the benefit of small and medium-sized businesses by investing resources from the mining sector in this sector, and by setting up a dedicated National Fund and introducing measures based on the European CAP model.’

A speech followed by Sani redi Ahmed, Ethiopia’s Deputy Minister of Agriculture. ‘In Ethiopia, agriculture is of paramount importance and accounts for 35% of the national GDP, but there is still huge potential for development. Our goal is to increase productivity in terms of quality by focusing on new technologies. This goal can be achieved by working in partnerships with leading-edge countries such as Italy, focusing on the context with a targeted and inclusive approach in order to improve productivity, trade and food safety, while reducing youth and female unemployment and, in doing so, poverty.’ It is a matter of incorporating specific and direct guidelines, aimed at defining an ambitious growth plan, which also includes creating agro-industrial parks. ‘With its 74 million hectares of arable land, Ethiopia has tremendous growth potential. We must be able to pursue an effective policy: the goal is to make Ethiopia become the cornerstone of industrialisation by 2025,’ stated Teka Gebreyesus Entehabu, Ethiophia’s Deputy Minister of Trade and Industry.

In Somalia, agriculture accounts for 70% of the national GDP and for 90% of exports. Today, local producers are increasingly inclined to invest in new technologies. ‘We are aware of the challenges posed by climate change that we will have to face in the near future and we are already taking measures to address them,’ said Ismail Dirie Gamadid, Somalia’s Minister of Agriculture.

Opportunities also abound for Mozambique, represented at the meeting by the Secretary General of the Ministry of Agriculture, Victor Domingos Canhemba Jr.: at present, only 15% of the 36 million hectares of arable land are used and biodiversity is potentially very high due to the physical conformation of the country, which is strategically located in terms of trade routes, also thanks to the presence of the port of Nacala, the third deepest port in East Africa. ‘This series of distinctive features makes Mozambique a particularly interesting country for potential partnerships.’

Finally, António Sozinho, Director General of Angola’s Ministry of Agriculture, took the floor. Angola is a country that has been committed to investing in agriculture since the oil crisis that severely affected its economy. ‘Today, our policy is driven by the desire to diversify in order to no longer depend on a single sector. In 2013, the Ministry of Finance announced that it would provide incentives to invest in agriculture, but issues related to the global crude oil economy and domestic policy issues have slowed down their implementation. We are now ready to start over in an effort to attract new investors who can make the most of our potential. The country is gradually resuming exports of its main products such as mangoes, bananas and pineapples, but there is still much to be done. Just think that only 5 out of 35 million hectares of arable land are cultivated.’ He then concluded, ‘Our priorities are investing in local and sustainable production as well as in technologies and new irrigation systems.’


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MACFRUT 2019: Pineapple under the spotlight on the second day

MACFRUT 2019: Pineapple under the spotlight on the second day

The second day of the Tropical Fruit Congress, with the focus on pineapple, the announcement of the 2020 edition of the International Strawberry Symposium and the round table on brand value. Day two of Macfruit was again crammed with data, discussions and news on the fruit and vegetable sector and its innovations.

Tropical Fruit Congress

The second day opened with the Tropical Fruit Congress’s focus on pineapple.
“The pineapple is the second most important tropical fruit after the banana,” Pierre Escodo of Eurofresh Distribution began.

In 2018, 50% of world pineapple exports were shipped from Costa Rica, with volumes of 8 million tonnes, with the Philippines in second place in the export rankings. The biggest importers are the United States, while in Europe the most important destination is the Netherlands with 318 thousand tonnes, 77% of which is then re-exported. The third largest buyer market is China (185 thousand tonnes), but Russia is also making a comeback with impressive figures, with imports growing by 16% last year alone.

“The time has come,” Mr Escodo continued, “to support this market’s long-term growth by focusing on new varieties such as baby pineapple, being aware of the new players entering the market, such as China, Ecuador and Africa, and simplifying the product consumption process and the fresh fruit segment. If, and only if, these factors are combined, there is vast growth potential for pineapple in the medium-term future.”

Quality, effective logistics, traceability, nutrition education, eco-sustainability and responsiveness to consumer trends are the directions in which international tropical fruit growers are moving.

“In Costa Rica, pineapples shipped to the United States account for 35% of agricultural exports,” Upala Agricola of Costa Rica explained, “followed by Europe and, very slowly, also by the Chinese market. If we want to expand in the future, we have to keep improving our product, to achieve larger sales volumes, as well as resolving our logistics problems with Asia and the Middle East. Without a doubt, the new challenges to be borne in mind also include the adoption of organic growing methods.”

S&W Fine food International, from the Philippines, has won the islands their place as the world’s second biggest pineapple producer: “Aware of consumers’ latest demands, three years ago we were already starting to sell pineapple cut into slices or sticks and frozen, a revolutionary product that retains the distinctive sweet flavour and the same nutritional properties as the fresh fruit.”

Italian company Dole, which launched the ‘Dole Earth’ online platform a few years ago, aims for greater quality and transparency: “Through our website, we set out to empower consumers, who can type in the five-figure code they find on the fruit itself to identity the specific plantation where the pineapple was grown. We also believe strongly in nutrition education for consumers and support for a correct lifestyle, so we have developed our ‘100% natural snacking’ messages, which identify pineapple as the perfect snack for eating at any time of day.”

Fresh products producer Robinson Fresh provided an overview of general market trends: “World pineapple output is growing, but consumption habits are changing: in general, demand for ready-to-eat product is on the increase, and the market has to adapt with creativity and new packaging solutions. In some countries, this mechanism is already up and running: for example, in the United States 54% of consumers are willing to pay more for a product that is ready to eat.”

The view from Italy was provided by Alessandro Dal Bello, Vice President of Sife, a fruit and vegetable wholesaler whose core business is the distribution of bananas and pineapples from Costa Rica: “Instead of concentrating on price, to increase pineapple sales we need to put our energies into product transformation, not forgetting the sustainability of the packagings used. Any policy we adopt must be independent of the strategies of the major chains: this is essential if earnings are to be shared throughout the supply chain.”

Confirmation of the new pineapple consumption trends also came from world market survey leader Kantar, which explained that: “In line with the tendency to prefer products that are easier to use, ready-to-eat pineapple is one of the top alternatives to conventional snacks.”

International Strawberry Symposium

The focal event of the afternoon was the round table on the International Strawberry Symposium, which is to return to Italy 32 years after it was last held here. Since 1988, when the very first International Strawberry Symposium took place in Cesena, the event has always been organised abroad. For its return to Italy, the Symposium is planning a series of appointments at different locations, with field visits from Basilicata to northern Italy, and a core congress in Romagna.

The Italian edition of the Symposium, which will welcome hundreds of researchers from all over the world, will be organised by the Crea Olive, Fruit and Citrus Research Centre (Centro di ricerca Olivicoltura, Frutticoltura e Agrumicoltura), Forlì location, and Università Politecnica delle Marche, while the logistics have been contracted, further to a public bidding procedure, to Aim Group International. “Three years ago, in Canada, we fought off strong competition from the Dutch,” Gianluca Baruzzi of Crea begins, “and this is an incredible opportunity for Italy, a showcase in which our country can display itself to the world in its best possible light, with no rivalries. It is amazing to think that the stand that hosted the round table alone displayed about a hundred specimens of 42 different varieties, from Italy’s 3800 hectares of strawberry fields.

Brand value in fruit and vegetables

To what extent does brand guide consumers’ choices in the store? What are the values and expectations in relation to branded fruit and vegetable products? These were the questions underlying the survey by SG Marketing presented at the conference on “Brand value for fruit and vegetable consumers. Experience, strategies and examples.”

The survey revealed that for consumers, the fruit and vegetable grower’s brand is a genuine value, the basis for guaranteeing consistent quality, that a mix of private labels and grower brands is essential to increase the fruit and vegetable area’s added value, and that the point of sale is still, and will continue to be, the place where the brand really comes into play.

The round table which followed heard contributions from five major players in the sector, representing a model of excellence for fruit and vegetable marketing: the VOG Consortium with the Marlene brand, La Linea Verde, Citrus L’Orto Italiano, Almaverde Bio and Consorzio di Tutela del Pomodoro di Pachino IGP.