Buyers and operators who attended the first Macfrut Digital fair, thanks to consultant Evgeniya Kravchenko, came from Russia, Moldova, Armenia, Belarus and Kazakhstan.
"I have been organizing delegations for Macfrut since 2011 and, up until 2014, only big retail buyers or local distributors looking for suppliers of Italian produce used to take part. The situation changed with the ban. Buyers can no longer purchase from Europe, therefore few were attending the fair in Rimini and were doing so mostly to meet Chinese, African or Latin American suppliers," explains the consultant.
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At the same time, however, "Macfrut started attracting the attention of producers looking mainly for processing lines, greenhouse technologies and new varieties, so the delegation has been growing year after year."
"At Macfrut Digital, buyers looked for packaging materials such as corner pieces, trays and punnets; fertilizers, biostimulants and growth regulators; storage solutions. Checks need to be carried out after the fair before making a purchase, as buyers need to verify whether the Italian packaging material is competitive in comparison with that produced in Russia and Chine. Plus, a Russian certification is needed for almost all plant growth products and storage products require a well-developed business development plant. We will be meeting online again with some Italian companies to discuss things more in depth."
The fact that this was a digital event has meant big retail buyers from Russia, Kazakhstan, Armenia and Belarus could also attend. They met up with producers from Africa, Ukraine, Moldova and even China. As there is no ban in Kazakhstan, Armenia and Belarus, buyers from these countries attended online B2B meetings with some Italian companies as well.
Dmitriy Alysh, buyer for Belarusian distributor Fruitreal LLC, reports that "organizing a digital fair was an excellent idea. There were a few technical problems on the first day, but we have attended many online meetings on the second and third day. Of course a lot depends on the Internet connection, but I have to say some Italian interlocutors were not punctual. Anyway, the main strength of this event was the fact that meetings could be attended from the office or from home without having to move. We have discussed possible future collaborations with a few businesses in Italy, Latin America and Africa."
Astkhik Karapetyan from Armenian distributor Ararast LLC explains that "Macfrut Digital helped us learn more about exotic fruit from African countries and organic products from Ukraine. We managed to meet with companies from various countries in the world in just a few days, without having to move."
"The future of the fresh produce business arrived last week. Renzo Piraccini, together with his team, showed that we do not need favorable conditions to discuss business, we need to create the conditions ourselves. The tools already existed, but now we know how they can be used," concludes Evgeniya Kravchenko.
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