The Asia Fruit Logistca organisers made it known yesterday that the trade show would be postponed until November. It was due to take place in Singapore in late September but due to the COVID-19 crisis will now take place 18-20 November.
FreshPlaza spoke to some of the companies who have exhibited and visited the show in the past to get their views on attending this year.
In general most people are positive about the change of date, but some feel it is still too early to decide as there are no guarantees that travel will be permitted or available. Notably the Australians will not attend if it means they have to go into quarantine on returning home.
Greg Akins - Catalytic Generators, US
“At this time, we’ve decided to wait a year to see how travel and trade show attendance settle out after COVID restrictions lessen.”
Rick Chong - Sutherland, S.A, US
“We planned on exhibiting but have changed our minds due to the move to November, our main category (grapes) is winding down, we are also packing apples at this time and starting our Chilean cherries so it is not good for us, but we think it is a great idea for the trade show to be moved. We won't exhibit, but will attend as visitors
Bede Miller - Cravo Equipment, US
“November would be fine, still the biggest questions left to answer are regarding travel restrictions and flight availability. But no one can answer these right now...”
Neil Barker BGP International, Australia
“At the moment there is little likelihood that the compulsory 14 day isolation when people return to Australia will be removed in 2020. If that restriction remains in place our team is unlikely to attend. We would like to participate but only if it is safe for all to do so.
"Also November is not a good time to be away from the desk as it is when several programs are starting and attention is needed."
Jeff Scott - Australian Table Grape Association
Jeff said he was undecided as to whether he would attend but most likely not, but will wait to closer to the date to decide. “If the international travel from Australia is not lifted then we will be subject to 2 weeks isolation on return, if that is the case then I will not go.”
Michael Franks Seeka, New Zealand
Michael said he would not attend the trade show. “We aren’t ready for travel yet.”
Christina Manossis - Zeus Kiwi SA, Greece
"I guess for us November sounds even worse than September, but we wouldn't have attended this year anyways. We usually have a stand on Asia Fruit Logistica, but I firmly believe even if the show will open people will not attend. I remember how many traders and visitors canceled their trip during the strikes in Hong Kong last year. Imagine how people will react with Covid-19 still around in the world. So Zeus Kiwi will not exhibit on Asia Fruit Logistica, even now they've postpone the event."
Yigit Gokyigit - Alanar, Turkey
"If the postponing of Asia Fruit Logistica will make things safer for everyone involved, Alanar supports the decision. The priority on safety is how it's supposed to be. We would not want anyone's life to be affected in a negative way, but Alanar will for sure be an exhibitor during Asia Fruit Logistica, also in November."
Ger van Burik - Holland Fresh Group
Ger van Burik who organises the Dutch contingency every year for Asia Fruit Logistica has said that ten companies had registered for a stand on the Dutch Pavillion at the trade show in Singapore. "Compared to last year there is one company which will not go and one new company has registered. No one has pulled out due to the current uncertainties."
Kevin Au Yeung - RK Growers Srl - Omnifresh - Italy
"I think it is good that they decided to reschedule the exhibition to November, because it is uncertain whether Singapore is ready to host an exhibition of this size in September. Though for Italy it's a busy time because many of our products start in mid September to mid October, however, this is also a good thing, because then we are able to showcase a full range of our products at the exhibition, which is not possible in September."
Elizabeth Sandoval - Altar Produce, Mexico
“I think the organizers of the AFL show are doing their part and I am sure it was a tough decision for them to postpone the show to November, but it was for sure the right thing to do under the current circumstances. We at Altar don’t have big issues and actually feel more comfortable with the new dates as it will give us more time to feel safe enough to attend.
"We really hope that the rest of the exhibitors and visitors all over the world welcome this change on the dates, and we all can enjoy a productive and safe show.”
Aziz EL Sous - Grupo Athos, Peru
Grupo Athos had a booth Asia Fruit Logistica last year, but for this year they have cancelled all their trips to exhibitions as a precaution to ensure the safety of their staff. Aziz El Sous says: “I agree with the postponement. For us it’s too soon to decide if we will attend, especially because it is a big investment. Even with the postponement there isn’t any assurance that it will go through. For us, we have been working hard on developing our relationships with our customers in China for our blueberries for the past two to three years. We are working to keep those relationships up with the help of technology and it won’t be too big of an impact for us to forgo Asia Fruit Logistica this year. The safety of our staff is the top priority.”
Juan Gonzalez Pita -Salix Fruits, Argentina
“The truth is we were surprised that no announcement had been made earlier, considering almost every other event was being suspended. So we had assumed that Asia Fruit Logistica was going to be suspended directly and not postponed.
"Today we are still very confused about the whole situation. We don´t know how air traffic will be in the short term and we do not fully understand how many people are going to attend, what measures will have to be taken, if we will have to wear a mask inside the fair or not.
"For us, going to Fruit Logistica is always very important and is a central part of our work, it is a place where we meet our colleagues, our friends, people from the industry, etc, but this pandemic leads us to rethink a lot of things.
"We are waiting to see the reactions from the rest of the industry and will evaluate our presence then when we know if clients, friends, suppliers, etc. are going.”
Austin Gu - Cydiance, China
Austin said his company will still exhibit, whether it was held in September or November, they decided to send less people to participate this year. "I think in the situation of Covid-19, everyone should take their social responsibility, not only government institutions but every business and individual. In my opinion, rescheduling the exhibition is a responsible decision. As the Chinese saying goes: the mountain doesn't move and the water always flows, we will see you one day eventually."
Tina Sun - Fresh-Key, China
"When you look at the current circumstances in the world, I think it is good the exhibition date is delayed a bit. We were busy launching our new APP to show everyone at the exhibition in September. However, now that it is in November, we have more time to perfect it. Which is one of the main reasons for participating at this exhibition, finding new business partners."