An international focus on the Arabian Peninsula, the launch of the Macfrut Academy, two new exhibitions, and three dynamic areas. Many additions are planned for Macfrut, the international trade fair for the fruit and vegetable sector, scheduled at the Rimini Expo Centre from 8 to 10 May 2024. It will be its 41st edition, which proves that it is the only supply trade fair of its kind in the international scene, representing all segments of the supply chain of the fruit and vegetable sector. Macfrut has three assets: Business, which is at the heart of the trade fair; Knowledge, ‘certified’ by the presence of a team of experts who will coordinate the various Exhibitions and ensure quality content at events focusing on the latest innovations; and Networking, with meetings organised by the trade fair, thanks to a dedicated team in charge of scheduling hundreds of B2B meetings between exhibitors and buyers from all over the world (1,500 buyers participated in the last edition), with the valuable support of ICE – Italian Trade Agency.
The Macfrut Academy is born
The unique character of Macfrut will be further highlighted with the launch of the Macfrut Academy, an innovative digital platform that will get Macfrut exhibitors and visitors involved throughout the year. Various topics concerning several supply chains will be thoroughly discussed during video lectures held by experts to bring sector professionals up to date with the latest developments. The video lectures will last about 30 minutes each and will be divided into several modules, available in four languages (English, Spanish, French and Italian) in a dedicated section on the Macfrut website. The first Video Academy is scheduled for Thursday 9 November (at 5 pm Italian time) and will cover the potato supply chain, from harvesting to packaging. The second Video Academy is scheduled for Thursday 14 December (also at 5 pm Italian time) on the European avocado and mango market. All of the available content can be accessed free of charge following registration.
International focus on the Arabian Peninsula
The presentation of Macfrut 2024 in the capital city of Qatar is part of a special focus on the Arabian Peninsula, which is also demonstrated by the presentations of Macfrut recently held in this region: the 2022 edition was presented in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, while the 2023 edition was presented in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. It is a strategic region for the Italian fruit and vegetable sector: in fact, exports have increased from 68,000 tonnes in 2020 to 97,000 tonnes last year (+42.6%). According to CSO Italy data, the sector’s turnover has also increased, from €73 million to €113 million last year (+54.7%). The Arabian Peninsula imports 70% of the fresh fruit and vegetables it consumes, and Italy can play a key role in this regard thanks to the quality of its produce and its well-developed maritime logistics.
During this edition of Macfrut, the Arabian Peninsula will be at the centre of international attention: in fact, Macfrut will host major importers and trade chains from this region, and many events and meetings will be organised during the three-day trade fair.
Table grapes: the key product of Macfrut 2024
Italy is the leading producer of table grapes in Europe, producing approximately 1 million tonnes. An event of international standing involving table grape sector professionals will be dedicated to this excellent product, the Macfrut Table Grape Symposium, which will attract key experts and players from all over the world over several days, with four main themes: an international symposium with the participation of technical-scientific experts and companies; field visits to learn more about technical aspects; an exhibition area with world-leading producers in the sector; and networking activities. The Macfrut Table Grape Symposium will be coordinated by Bruno Mezzetti of the Marche Polytechnic University.
New and confirmed exhibitions
One of the distinguishing features of Macfrut is that it hosts many themed exhibitions coordinated by teams of experts, making this three-day trade fair unrivalled in the trade fair industry.
As for novelties, the Innovation Hub For Healthy Food, an exhibition dedicated to the sustainable products and processing technologies used to produce functional foods with high nutritional value, will make its debut. A joint initiative of the University of Bologna, the Department of Agri-Food Science and Technology (DISTAL) and the Food Science Campus in Cesena, this exhibition is dedicated to innovative fruit and vegetable products and will include themed workshops and demonstration activities carried out by world-renowned researchers and leading companies.
Also worth mentioning is the first edition of the Agrisolar Exhibition by KEY, organised in partnership with KEY – The Energy Transition Expo, an event hosted by IEG – Italian Exhibition Group, a leader in Italy and in the Mediterranean basin in the field of energy transition technologies and solutions. This new exhibition will serve as a vertical showcase of the opportunities that come with integrating agricultural production with photovoltaic power generation, which is a major opportunity for the country to achieve the decarbonisation goals set for the Italian economy.
Another confirmed exhibition is the Biosolutions International Event, dedicated to natural products for plant protection, plant nutrition and biostimulation. A key initiative to find out what’s new in the sector, it will include four types of offerings: an exhibition part (more than 50 companies participated in the last edition); an international congress on the theme ‘Which Biosolutions for quality cherries?’; the Biosolutions Innovation Award, a prize awarded to the most innovative products; and information on consumption and news updates. This area will be coordinated by Camillo Gardini of Agri2000.
The second edition of Pianeta Rosso (Red Planet), an occasion to get together with all the players in the supply chain, will offer an immersive journey to discover the world of tomatoes and how to improve the quality of this product. Tests involving buyers will be conducted: starting with the buying process and through to the consumer experience, this journey will culminate in an immersive tunnel full of images, videos, aromas and flavours. This area will be coordinated by Roberto Della Casa of Agroter.
Innovations in the plant nursery supply chain will be in the spotlight at the Plant Nursery area, a specialised event where nurserymen, breeders, producers, specialists and researchers can get together, representing a strategic sector for the development of modern fruit and vegetable growing. New additions this year will include an International symposium on genetic innovations in the rootstock segment featuring the latest developments concerning apple, pear, stone fruit and citrus fruit trees. In addition, there will be seminars covering critical topics such as business strategies for patent development, the harmonisation of certification systems, and a series of open days dedicated to excellence in the plant nursery sector. This exhibition will be coordinated by Stefano Lugli of SL Fruit Service.
Spice & Herbs Global Expo, the only Expo focusing entirely on cultivation and technologies for the primary processing of medicinal plants and their primary derived products and on expanding the global market for spices and herbal raw materials. One of the new entries for the 2024 edition will be the first edition of the ‘botanical by-products gallery’, a showcase of highly innovative functional products from agricultural supply chains. There will also be an area dedicated to herb processing technologies, a journey to discover edible flowers, which are highly popular with restaurateurs and consumers, not to mention the return of the Fippo Forum, now in its eleventh edition. The area will be co-ordinated by FIPPO (Italian Federation of Medicinal Plant Producers), Erboristeria Domani and Cannamela.
Acqua Campus has also been confirmed: it will be organised in collaboration with ANBI (National Association of Land Reclamation) and CER (Canale Emiliano Romagnolo) and will be dedicated to water-saving innovations and technologies. A test field will be set up in the exhibition halls to allow visitors to learn more about cutting-edge water management technologies applied to horticulture, along with meetings and guided technical visits.
Other dynamic areas at the trade fair will be dedicated to table grapes and soilless production techniques. These areas will be coordinated by Mr Luciano Trentini, an expert in the field.