“Africa holds a priority position in the strategic agenda of Italy and the Italian Development Cooperation, in the wake of the historical relationships that bind the two shores of the Mediterranean. Together, we are part of one, single area, exposed to shared challenges as well as opportunities in terms of stability, security and sustainable development.” These were the words by Deputy Minister Sereni who took the floor in Rimini during the inauguration of the 39th edition of MACFRUT, one of the most important fairs dedicated to fruit and vegetables, a true landmark of advanced agriculture. This year’s event introduces a novelty: “Africa Days”, organized with the support of the Ministry, together with AICS, ITA – Italian Trade Agency, UNIDO, and Confindustria Assafrica & Mediterraneo. Three days of events including the States General of African Fruit and Vegetables sector, a forum of experts, companies and institutions to discuss basic aspects for the agricultural development of the various African States.
“One of the challenges both Italy and Africa have to face”, Ms Sereni continued, “is food security, which the Russian-Ukrainian conflict has severely compromised at a global level. Africa is among the areas hardest hit by supply shocks and rising prices of raw materials. Such negative consequences on the African economies further compound the effects of the persistent drought, which affects more than half of Africa’s countries; this problem can only be addressed with the help of advanced technologies”.
“Food security”, the Deputy Minister added, “has always been a cornerstone of Italian Development Cooperation. We have always worked swiftly to make agriculture – the major component of the economy in many African countries – and agribusiness more efficient and environmentally sustainable, supporting an increase in the number of small and medium-sized enterprises and favouring the involvement of women and young people in entrepreneurship in these sectors. In recent years, awareness has been increasing with reference to the fact that the private sector too can play an important role in sustainable development by helping to generate economic growth, new jobs, human capital development and innovation. I therefore hope that the organisation of the ‘Africa Days’ can be an opportunity for establishing new, virtuous synergies between our countries in the agri-food sector and for developing concrete solutions,” Ms Sereni concluded, “for a quality-focused modernisation of African production systems, starting with the mutually beneficial exchange of best practices and the integration of supply chains”.