BIBLIOTECA HORTICULTURA

BIBLIOTECA HORTICULTURA

Macfrut, many presentations by the participating countriesMacfrut, many presentations by the participating countries

Macfrut, many presentations by the participating countries

Numerous events are being held by foreign delegations at the Macfrut stands. Cuba, Venezuela and Zimbabwe talked about trade opportunities with Europe

MACFRUT, the international trade fair for the fresh produce industry, which is currently underway at the Rimini Expo Centre and will end today, 6 May, has attracted many foreign participants. The African continent is represented by more than 200 professionals 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.


The opportunities offered by the Cuban fruit and vegetable sector
The Cuban fruit and vegetable production industry was introduced to Macfrut participants. A delegation from this Caribbean island is attending the event in Rimini for the third time, but in greater numbers this year. This edition of Macfrut has been an opportunity for this Latin American country to explain the opportunities and innovations it has to offer as it seeks to expand to international markets. ‘The prospects and potential for export and for Italian companies to invest in our agricultural sector are a real opportunity, which we want to strongly encourage and promote here at Macfrut,’ said Ms Milagros Carina Soto Aguero, Cuba’s Ambassador to Italy.

One of the new developments in the fruit sector is the production of avocados. Mr Guillermo Rafael Almenares Garlobo, Director of the Research Institute In Tropical Fruit Growing, explained: ‘Today, tropical fruits cover 95,000 hectares of land – and this surface area keeps growing – 24% of which are state managed, while 76% are managed by cooperatives and private companies. With its three different avocado cultivars, Cuba’s agricultural sector is able to produce this fruit all year round.’

Katia Pérez Diaz of the Cuban Chamber of Commerce pointed out that avocados, bananas, pineapples, mangoes and many other types of fruit and vegetables, ‘both fresh and processed, are an important segment to invest in, which can lead to economic growth. As for trading, Italy will also find that Cuba can serve as a strategic gateway into Latin America.’


Venezuela’s first time at Macfrut
Venezuela, which is participating for the first time in Macfrut, has a long tradition of exporting fruit and vegetables, especially to the European, North American and Caribbean markets. It is one of the countries with the largest variety of tropical fruits and vegetables in the world: in fact, it grows more than 250 varieties, including mangoes, plantains, bananas, pineapples, avocados, papayas, melons, watermelons, etc. As reported in a note from the Venezuelan Embassy in Italy, ‘The Venezuelan climate is extremely favourable, and this is because of the country’s size, widespread availability of water, sunlight, and the quality of the soil, resulting in high-quality crops throughout the year, which makes it possible to ensure a constant supply. Venezuela offers a wide range of exportable products, including processed tropical fruit (in pulp form), which shows great potential for the European agro-industrial sector, and produces premium quality coffee, rum, and fine cocoa.

Venezuela is planning to import production supplies, certain raw materials and machinery in order to enhance its production processes, making them more efficient and competitive. Venezuelan entrepreneurs require more advanced technology to be applied to areas such as mechanisation processes, irrigation, seed varieties, soil nutrition, and packaging. In this respect, Italy offers cutting-edge technology, which is what Venezuela needs to enrich and strengthen its agri-food sector.

The note also states that, ‘The country has recently implemented a major tax and customs reform in order to facilitate and boost exports. Today, Venezuela is a competitive partner that exports to Europe, and this is thanks to its high-quality products and affordable prices. Today, the country is in a position to import the technology it needs for its agri-food sector, since it has implemented new laws aimed at promoting a dynamic economy, with guarantees for foreign investors that are unrivalled in this region with respect to taxation and protection. This is the perfect time to start investing in the agri-food sector, and especially in tropical fruit, mainly due to the fact that there is a noticeable upturn in the country’s economy. In fact, its GDP is expected to increase by 20%, as reported by several international financial and economic bodies.’


Zimbabwe doubles its presence at Macfrut
‘ZimTrade is attending Macfrut for the second year in a row. Ms Patience Kapfunde, HR Manager at ZimTrade, said: ‘In 2021 we were here with a small group of five companies, but this year our number has actually doubled, since we now have 10 small producers. This shows that we are interested in forging closer commercial ties with Italy and Europe.’ The main reason why Zimbabwe is participating in the trade fair is that it aims not only to export more fresh produce, but also to learn all about the latest trends, innovations, products and services of the fresh produce supply chain.

The products from Zimbabwe that are being showcased at Macfrut include South African blueberries, Haas avocados, citrus fruits, premium quality snow peas, and sweet potatoes. An extensive range of herbs and spices, such as Moringa, hibiscus, saffron and chilli, are also on display.

Vangelis Heritatos, Deputy Minister for Lands, Agriculture, Water, Climate and Rural Resettlement, explained what the Italian market represents for Zimbabwe. ‘Italy certainly brings us a step closer to the European market. Zimbabwe currently exports approximately US$77 million worth of fruit and vegetables to Europe, but we feel that there is room for further growth. Italy has a very competitive market when it comes to equipment, but we potentially have a large production area and abundant water availability. Therefore, we are confident that we can successfully meet the demands of the Italian market, not only because our products taste great, but also because growing seasons are earlier in Zimbabwe than in the Northern Hemisphere. This means that we are able to constantly supply the Italian market with a full range of products at times of the year when fruit and vegetables are not available there.’