Macfrut 2023: A record-breaking year for the international fruit & vegetable industry trade fair
Record attendance for latest edition of Macfrut Expo with South Africa making its first appearance
The 40th edition of Macfrut, the international trade fair for the fruit and vegetable industries took place at the Rimini Expo Centre in Italy from 3-5 May 2023.
A record number of people attended the three-day trade fair with the halls of the Rimini Expo Centre reportedly attracting a total of 49,700 people, 29 per cent more than were present last year and 53 per cent more than in 2021.
This landmark edition of Italy’s largest fresh fruit and vegetable trade event was described as a memorable one by those involved. The event was graced by an appearance by the Italian President Sergio Mattarella, on the eve of the event. Then, on day one the expo was officially opened by Italy’s agriculture minister Francesco Lollobrigida.
Renzo Piraccini, president of Macfrut, said: “I would like to express my huge gratitude to all the exhibitors, institutions, sector organisations, the staff at Cesena Fiera, and the team of specialists who played a part in making this edition a success: our outstanding teamwork is what allowed us to host such an extraordinary trade fair.”
Renso Piraccini of Macfrut with Val Harker of Farm Costing Solutions and Lee-Anne Gammage & Jackson Andrew, both of Masterstock on the South African Pavilion
The 1,100+ exhibitors representing the entire fruit and vegetable supply chain (production, technologies, packaging, logistics, and services), combined with presence of 300 hosted foreign buyers from 57 countries (who according to the organisers had at least 1,500 meetings with Italian exhibitors alone) contributed greatly to enhance the image of Macfrut as an international showcase of note for the global fruit and vegetable industry.
New additions to the exhibition included the South American Pavilion, national stands for South Africa, Egypt and Saudi Arabia, China, themed exhibitions, and dynamic demonstration areas.
In addition, there were themed events on current trends like bio-solutions, the international blueberry industry, spices, medicinal herbs & essential oils, tomatoes and plant nurseries. , there was a double test field featuring technical and technological innovations in the sector, and about 100 events hosted during the trade fair.
The trade fair combined three assets that are strategic for the growth of the fruit and vegetable sector: Business, Knowledge, and Networking. It is also one of the few international events in this sector that involves the entire supply chain, meaning not only production, but also technologies, packaging, and related services – from farm to fork.
Youtube video on the event
South African Pavilion breaking new ground
Following a visit to South Africa by the Macfrut President, Renzo Piraccini during February 2023, hosted by the Italian Trade Agency (ICE) in Johannesburg and the Agribusiness Development Corporation (ADC) from Cape Town, the Western Cape Trade & Investment Promotion Agency WESGRO took the initiative to arrange the first official South African group participation in Macfrut. This culminated in the participation of 13 companies from South Africa (7 from the Western Cape and 6 from the Eastern Cape Provinces respectively) under the Wesgro/ECDC banner.
Exhibitors on the combined Wesgro & ECDC South African Pavilion
Locally manufactured technologies offered by the South African group, included the following:
- A comprehensive range of agricultural shade netting products by Plusnet (plusnetgeotex.co.za)
- Soil moisture probes and irrigation management software by AquaCheck (aquacheck.co.za)
- Labour management systems by Farm Costing Solutions (farmcostingsolutions.co.za)
- A wide array of South African agricultural, irrigation & agro-processing equipment supported by integrated project integration services by the Agribusiness Development Corporation / Agri4Africa (agri4africa.com)
South America hall & African Participation
This year’s edition of Macfrut featured an entire hall dedicated to South America, with 12 companies from Mexico and six from El Salvador. There were also over 20 companies from Peru, Chile, Venezuela, Costa Rica, Brazil, Cuba, the Dominican Republic, and Colombia participating, bringing the total number of exhibitors from this region to over 120.
An entire hall was also dedicated to Africa, which has always been prominently featured at Macfrut. A total of 20 countries were present, some with many participating companies, such as Ghana (30 companies), Egypt (22), South Africa (13), Nigeria (10) and Algeria (10).
Another addition was a national stand for Saudi Arabia – it was the first time at Macfrut for this country – while Turkey also participated in large numbers. China returned with 30 companies; its first participation in a trade fair abroad since the Covid outbreak.
One of the distinguishing features of the Macfrut trade fair was the inclusion of various themed events each with unique content and coordinated by an expert panels.
International Blueberry Days, which arguably made Macfrut the world capital of blueberries, the symbol fruit of the 2023 edition, kicked off with a study day at the Marche Polytechnic University in Ancona. On 3 May, the Blueberry Forum hosted a symposium with top scholars and researchers in the field of blueberries, leading industry players from all over the world, and field visits with technicians and experts. This was combined with a dedicated blueberry exhibition, which attracted top national and international players in this sector.
Biosolutions International Event, the exhibition dedicated to natural plant protection, nutrition, and bio-stimulation products, has grown considerably: the exhibition space doubled in size, with about 40 participating companies. It also included the Biosolutions International Congress with leading kiwi producers, technical round tables, the Biosolutions Innovation Award dedicated to innovation, and one-on-one meetings with experts.
The Red Planet was dedicated to the tomato supply chain and gave leading players in the tomato supply chain, from seed companies to modern retailers, the chance to get together. The event offered meetings between industry professionals, an exhibition area, and market research findings were also presented.
The next edition of the Macfrut Expo is scheduled to take place at the Rimini Expo Centre from 8 – 10 May 2024.
See www.macfrut.com for more information.
A special thanks to Nomsa from Wesgro who made South African Attendance possible.
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