The “Macfrut” fruit and vegetable trade fair, scheduled to be held in Cesena from 25 to 27 September 2013, was presented at the foreign ministry in Rome. The event targets the countries of Sub-Saharan Africa and is one of the most important of the sector for Mediterranean Europe. It is also a unique opportunity for getting up to date on the latest in machinery, processes, logistics and techniques. The presentation was made by Macfrut President Domenico Scarpellini and head of foreign marketing Valentina Piraccini. The event was introduced by Deputy Central Director for Africa Marco Claudio Vozzi, and participants included the mission heads and trade experts of 21 embassies in Sub-Saharan Africa and of the South African Consul in Milan, representatives of the Italian Ministry of Agricultural and Forest Policies, Confindustria, Assafrica and the Italgrit consortium.
The presentation was followed by a debate that touched on a variety of themes: food processing and distribution; seasonal products and climate differences that effect African and Italian and European production and markets; transposition of the Italian cooperative model onto African countries; types of Italian and African joint business ventures; development of forms of public/private partnership, not least as regards the financing of food industry projects, with the involvement of development banks and sovereign funds.
The presentation, which falls within the framework of efforts to raise awareness and involve African embassies regarding the high quality of the Italian products promoted by this Directorate General. On the one hand, Macfrut, which, after strengthening its presence in Morocco, Egypt, Libya and Turkey, now hopes to engage Sub-Saharan Africa; and on the other hand, the broad interest of area embassies shows how Italy is viewed as a reliable partner and, in some ways, a food industry sector model.
President Scarpellini met with Director General for Global Affairs Luigi Marras in the margins of the event, with whom he discussed the possibility of public/private partnerships in support of the internationalisation of Italian businesses on the African continent.
Increased cooperation in the food sector
The Sub-Saharan African embassies’ participation in Macfrut is intended, therefore, to contribute to increased food industry sector cooperation between Italy and Africa, a continent marked by vast agricultural potential, with broad tracts of land as yet uncultivated, and not least in anticipation of EXPO 2015, whose fruit/vegetable and spice producing “clusters” met recently in the same city of Cesena. Moreover, the invitation to participate in Macfrut has been extended to the commercial operators of the African countries for whom a food-processing training course is to be held from 20 to 23 September.