It was a landmark year for Asia Fruit Logistica, held from 3 to 5 September 2014, which showed a sharp rise in both visitor and exhibitor numbers. The exhibition saw more than 8,100 trade visitors from 64 different countries in attendance, a 24% increase in attendance numbers from last year. Furthermore, 478 companies from 38 different countries exhibited, an increase of 28% on last year’s event.

Although relatively small in comparison to the Berlin Fruit Logistica, the Asia Fruit Logistica was once again a great success. South Africa showcased an exhibition stand organised by the Fresh Produce Export’s Forum under the banner of Fruit South Africa, and along with the Chile stand turned out to be one of the busiest stands during the event.

Lucien Jansen (General Manager: Corporate Affairs), Sinovuyo Matai (General Manager: Statutory Operations North) and Tina-Louise Rabie (Marketing and Communications Co-ordinator) were fortunate enough to represent the PPECB at the event. Apart from visiting stands, the PPECB also acted as hosts at the South African stand by welcoming visitors and facilitating interactions with exporters. This gave the PPECB the opportunity to meet a host of stakeholders and clients from all over the world. It also provided the PPECB with the rare chance to explain the role and responsibilities of the PPECB to stakeholders and clients.

In a clear sign of Asia’s growing importance as a market for fresh fruit numerous requests for South African citrus were received at the event, specifically for lemons and grapefruit. This indicates that South African citrus is still in high demand, especially in the east – “I certainly never thought I would see the day that exporters turn prospective clients away, as they simply do not have any more citrus fruit to sell” explains Lucien Jansen. The 2014 South African stand was simply not big enough to accommodate the amount of interested parties, and was certainly one of the few stands that had a permanent queue to meet with exporters.

From a marketing perspective, “the event provided a vital opportunity to liaise with exporters and gain insight into their business structure”, said Tina-Louise Rabie. “I engaged with several exporters and producers from across South Africa, an accomplishment which would have taken weeks of planning and incurred severe costs had I arranged such meetings individually. The event also provided the opportunity to investigate worldwide marketing trends in terms of representing oneself at exhibitions and it is pleasing to see that South Africa, and the PPECB, are in line with other countries in this regard.

The PPECB’s presence at these exhibitions cannot be overemphasized. Apart from providing answers to burning questions from exporters, it also creates a platform for the PPECB to be more visible and establish a stronger relationship with international and South African stakeholders.