The international trade fair’s 39th edition took place at the Rimini Expo Centre this week, adn featured a total of 830 exhibitors – more than a quarter of them from abroad

“Macfrut is a positive sign that the industry is recovering.” This is what Stefano Patuanelli, the Italian Minister of Agricultural, Food and Forestry Policies, said in his opening speech inaugurating the 39th edition of Macfrut, the international trade fair for the fresh produce industry, which took place this week at the Rimini Expo Centre.

Aside from Minister Patuanelli, the opening ceremony featured speakers such as Marina Sereni, the Italian Vice-Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation; Maurizio Martina, assistant director-general of FAO (Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations); Rebecca Alitwala Kadaga, the Ugandan Minister for East African Community Affairs; and Gourouza Magagi Salmou, the Nigerian Minister of Industry and Youth Entrepreneurship.

Other speakers included Roberto Luongo, managing director of ICE-Agenzia – Italian Trade Agency; Luca Maestripieri, director of AICS (Italian Agency for Development Cooperation); Renzo Piraccini, president of Macfrut; and Alessio Mammi, Councillor for Agriculture of the Emilia-Romagna Region.

Piraccini commented: “Although globally there is great uncertainty and the atmosphere is tense due to the war in Ukraine, this edition of Macfrut started with great optimism. In fact, although it is being held only eight months after the last edition, the event’s numbers reflect a return to normal, with a total gross surface area of 40,000 square metres and 830 exhibitors, 28 per cent of whom are from abroad.”

Maurizio Martina of the FAO: “We are facing selective globalisation and, because of this, relations with Africa are of strategic importance. I am pleased that this trade fair is allowing this spirit of partnership and cooperation to become even stronger. We are in the midst of an energy crisis that is dramatically increasing production costs for agricultural businesses, and farming techniques are changing significantly: there is no way of escaping it.”

He added: “Innovation should be available to everyone. We are working hard to piece together a jigsaw puzzle by putting our energies together: this trade fair is a fantastic opportunity to pool our experience. Macfrut is not only about business, but also about cooperation.”

A European and global event

Roberto Luongo of ICE: “Our strategic goal over the next three years is to turn Macfrut into a leading trade fair in Europe. For the sake of the Italian industry, Macfrut must become a European and global event where all professionals operating in the fruit and vegetable sector can get together. It is a chance for the Italian industry to present itself to the world by showcasing its excellence, know-how, and the direct experiences of companies and professionals who play an important and distinctive role in producing high-quality, Made in Italy products.”

Luca Maestripieri, AICS: “We have always believed in this trade fair, and we now feel reassured by the great response we have had from the players involved, many of whom are from abroad and are already cooperating with us. This year, Africa is also an important theme, since we have nine offices in Africa, and we will soon be opening another one in Nigeria.”

Plenty on offer

As far as content is concerned, there is plenty on offer throughout the trade fair, which proves that Macfrut is a well-established business event during which the technical issues facing the industry are explored.

The International Cherry Symposium is currently being held, which has attracted more than 350 experts from all over the world and major players, and so is the Spices & Herbs Global Expo, the first exhibition in Europe dedicated to spices, officinal herbs, and aromatic herbs. In addition, avocados will be in the spotlight during the third edition of the Tropical Fruit Congress, while natural plant protection, nutrition and biostimulation products will be prominently featured at the Biosolutions International Event.

A special mention goes to Macfrut Field Solution, a large, double dynamic area showcasing the main in-field technologies such as irrigation systems, covering systems and sensors applied to cherry growing and agriculture 4.0, with drones and robots in action.

Despite current uncertainties, there are many foreign participants. A strong focus will be placed on Africa, a continent of opportunities: a total of 200 sector professionals will be attending, along with delegations from Angola, Cameroon, Ivory Coast, Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Mali, Niger, Uganda, Tanzania, Senegal, Somalia, Zambia and Zimbabwe. As for non-EU countries, there are also many participants from Cuba, the Dominican Republic, Venezuela, Uzbekistan, Indonesia and Vietnam.