Macfrut ends with a bang: 39,000 visitors, increasingly international

Rimini – The first edition of the "new phase" of Macfrut, held last Friday at the Rimini Expo Centre, ended with a bang. Here are the numbers: 39,000 people attended the trade fair of the Italian fruit and vegetable sector, the highest number the event organised by Cesena Fiera has ever reached in 32 years. In addition to the growing numbers, the change in Macfrut can also be seen in the type of visitors attending. Moreover, one exhibitor out of five was from abroad, thus proving the international appeal of the event, with an increase in the number of exhibitors and in its surface area.
"This outstanding result proves what we can achieve if the supply chain works together," Renzo Piraccini, President of Cesena Fiera, explains. "This is the beginning of a new phase that will make Macfrut become a world-leading trade fair with international appeal. In May 2016, we will be in Cairo together with Fruit Attraction to host the first edition of Mac Fruit Attraction.” Lorenzo Cagnoni, President of Rimini Fiera, also expressed his satisfaction with the dual result at the Rimini Expo Centre.
Ecuador, Iran, Poland, Mexico and the Dominican Republic: Macfrut was a huge success among foreign delegations.

"Foreign traders," says the President, "are the added value of our exhibition." One of the most satisfied delegations was Pro Ecuador, which attended the trade fair with 13 leading companies in the banana sector. A positive outcome was also seen by the Iranian delegation, which was in the spotlight during a meeting dedicated to Italian entrepreneurs.
The Dominican Republic, instead, was the guest of honour of the 32nd edition of Macfrut, with a very popular exhibition area. The varied Central American delegation consisted of 50 people including traders and visitors. This delegation had already attended Macfrut previously, so its development was much appreciated.
Poland also had a large exhibition space and hosted several meetings. On Thursday afternoon, during a conference, it emerged that Italy ranks only seventh in Poland’s agri-food exports, amounting to 4 per cent of the total. Germany is the first supplier (26 per cent), followed by the Netherlands (11 per cent), Sweden, Belgium, Spain, and Denmark (4 per cent). "There is scope for more close-knit trade relations," said Monika Wicinska, secretary of the Polish promotion and foreign trade office." Poland imports large amounts of fruit and vegetables, as well as flour products and cereal crops."

The Mexican delegation, whose expectations were also met, included about 10 operators who, in December, had taken part in a tour to visit several companies in the Cesena area. The trade fair was an opportunity to confirm existing relations and to define import-export strategies.

European coordination for the fruit and vegetable sector
In an increasingly global world, the interprofessional fruit and vegetable organisations of each country also require greater coordination between each other, so they can make their requests in Europe and gain ground in relation to the large-scale retail trade. This topic was one of the main focuses, as well as the need to coordinate on a European scale, of the conference held by Ortofrutta Italia during Macfrut, entitled "The role of interprofessional fruit and vegetable organisations in supply chain relations and possible European coordination. Sharing experiences with Spain, France, Italy, Romania and Hungary.”
"The ability of the large-scale retail sector to impose its conditions on agricultural firms and interprofessional organisations is growing stronger," Juan Colomina of Hortyfruta (Almeria) explained, "and this affects not only prices but also packaging and quality standards." In Germany, sales via the large-scale retail sector amount to 89%, whereas, in France, they are slightly below this percentage. This figure decrease slightly (61%) only in Italy, where retail sales are still going strong. "This is why," Colomina continued, "we need to establish contacts between all interprofessional organisations in order to collaborate and thrive."
Interfel (a French interprofessional organisation) has shifted the focus onto consumers. "The role of interprofessional organisations changes over time. However, thanks to my 40 years of experience," Bruno Dupont, President of Interfel, explained, "I can safely say that consumers are now decision-makers, and the answers we give to their questions are of key importance."
Nazario Battelli, President of Ortofrutta Italia, made some concluding remarks. “In my opinion, several measures need to be implemented. Firstly, the representatives of economic activities linked to the fruit and vegetable sector need to ensure a more effective and structured role for Ortofrutta Italia, as an opportunity for improvement in the sector. Secondly, the Ministry of Agriculture should favour an organic overview of the tools available for the supply chain of the complex world of fruit and vegetables, integrating the national prerogatives of the sector with the district areas of certain products. Finally, it is essential for the EU not to hinder the spread of national resources and to experiment common solutions for a common market."