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Mac Fruit Attraction Continue to Go Global
Following the success of Mac Fruit Attraction China, Produce Report interviewed the president of Macfrut, Renzo Piraccini, to find out what he has in store for the Italian fresh fruit and vegetable industry in 2018. It turns out his sights are set on nothing short of the world, with Mac Fruit Attraction primed to host fairs on four continents.
Piraccini, who before moving to Macfrut was general manager for 25 years of one of Italy’s largest fruit and vegetable cooperatives, Apofruit, and who basically wrote the book on that company’s China operations, has reaffirmed that the Asian giant will remain a priority.
“China has an important future because it has large fruit producers, but lacks the necessary technology, packaging expertise and much more besides. This is why I think the relationship between Italy and China is an important one and will become increasingly central in the future,” said Piraccini.
The priority, with regards to the Chinese market, is expanding the number of Chinese buyers, as a means of further increasing the export of Italian fresh produce, in particular kiwifruit (Italy is the world’s largest producer of the fruit). In addition to the export of fresh produce however, Piraccini feels that China can become an important market for agricultural technology as well, a sector in which Italy is at the forefront. In turn, Italy could act as a major hub for the entry of Chinese products, such as ginger, garlic and Fuji apples to the European Union.
The company is taking concrete steps to put this plan into effect, “we are extending an all-expenses paid invitation to 50 buyers from China, to attend Macfrut in May 2018 and are organizing everything, from the airport to the hotels and accommodation. It is an interesting opportunity in which Chinese buyers will also be able to have business meetings with selected Italian companies. For those companies that would like to take advantage of this offer, we have set-up a dedicated e-mail address: firstname.lastname@example.org.”
2018 will also be a special year, as for the first time, Macfrut will be twinned with another nearby fair (2 ½ hours by car), providing a broader stage for showcasing the excellence of Italian food products. As Renzo Piraccini went on to explain, “next year there are two exhibitions , one centred on fresh fruit and vegetables, which is Macfrut, and a second one focused on general foodstuffs, called Cibus.” The two fairs have been timed so that buyers and exhibitors can attend both in the same week. Macfrut will be held from the 9th to the 11th of May (that is Wednesday to Friday), whereas Cibus will start on the Monday of the same week. “We are arranging dedicated shuttle buses for buyers and importers, because in some countries the buyers for the general foodstuffs and fruit and vegetables can be the same,” added the president of Macfrut.
This year will (after the now consolidated appointment with Mac Fruit Attraction Cairo, which serves the Middle-East and Africa, and this year’s Mac Fruit Attraction China event) see the launch of a Mac Fruit Attraction event on the South American Continent.
According to Piraccini, the particularity and draw of Mac Fruit Attraction is that “it is not a product fair, but a supply chain fair. Usually one doesn't see many machines at fresh produce exhibitions, however at Mac fruit Attraction there is a great deal of machinery. There are large stands that allow you to see them in action and understand how they work.”
So in the case of the Chinese event, technology made up 28 percent of the exhibits, whereas 37 percent was production and trading. In addition, there was a logistics and services section, as well as nursery and seeds area, which are important, as Italy has the biggest seed companies in the world. “Chinese exhibitors are very satisfied by this composition,” said the President of the Macfrut, “because they can do a lot of business, both importing technology and selling their products.”
The rapid success and global growth of the fair, makes it easier for Renzo Piraccini to do what he states is his core job, “to prepare good opportunities and provide a platform for Italian exhibitors of the fruit and vegetable supply chain.”
In the case China says Piraccini, “Although Italy is a leader in some products including kiwi fruit, apples, pears, table grapes and some vegetables, the phytosanitary barriers make it impossible to export many of these products to China. For now we can only export kiwifruits and oranges.”
A lot of work is being done to remedy this situation however and the protocol for pears has already been opened. “This interesting,” says the president of Macfrut, “because Italian pears are extremely good. In particular one variety, the Abate Fetel pear has a good chance in China. It’s a typical Italian variety with a good level of sweetness that I consider to be much better than conference pears. I believe in 2 years we should be able to start exporting this fruit.”
On a final note, the president of Macfrut, gave his assurance that given the importance of the Chinese market, the Shanghai addition of Mac Fruit Attraction will be repeated.
Image Source: MZMC
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