First edition GFIA Europe lacks focus

This week the first European edition of the GFIA was held in The Netherlands. GFIA stands for Global Forum for Innovations in Agriculture. Sounds like a fairly broad subject, doesn't it? And that also seemed to be the case.

Abu Dhabi

The Utrecht edition was the fourth edition of the GFIA event: after three editions in Abu Dhabi, the organization made the jump to Europe. The event included a conference and an exhibition. According to the organization, in 2016 the fair had nearly 250 exhibitors, of whom 79% wanted to present themselves again in 2017. In reality that number was sightly lower: about 80 companies registered to participate in Utrecht, spread over sectors like livestock breeding, agriculture and horticulture.

Also different expectations were prompted in advance to a number of exhibitors. The organization's own definition, the world's largest forum for sustainable innovations in the agricultural sector, might be the case for their Abu Dhabi event, but for the Utrecht edition it is really exaggerated. This may also be because the exact concept, focus and purpose of the fair is not clear to both exhibitors and visitors. For example, a number of companies are presenting technical novelties and agricultural innovations, but according to several exhibitors, this attracted only limited interest from visitors.


However, we noticed some good discussions on the first day of the forum and there was a lot of interest for the presentations. Our conclusion is that the GFIA in Utrecht is more of a networking event and that the attendance is partly thanks to the previous international editions in Abu Dhabi. As a horticultural supplier, you do not have to be there with technical explanations about your new greenhouse, growing system or substrate, as growers are hard to find here. The visitors were delegations, researchers and consultants, in the broad spectrum of livestock farming, agriculture and horticulture. The interest of these visitors is not so much for newinnovations, but how innovations as a whole can help solve the global food problem in the future. There is certainly an interest for this and horticulture can surely play a role.

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