The eleventh edition of the biannual trade fair that took place in Bolzano in northern Italy from Nov. 15 - 17 welcomed 20,000 visitors, including around one hundred representatives of the Italian and international trade press.
A quarter of the participants were international visitors from 70 different countries, while the exhibition halls were fully booked with 489 exhibitors from 24 countries.
The success continued during the traditional, international congress titled 'The Apple in the World'. This year, a new format was chosen and the sessions were limited to the first two days only. More than twenty speakers from all over the world gave lectures on the latest developments in the industry to packed halls.
"The topics dealt with at the congress were met with particularly great interest, e.g., the emerging apple nations in the East, India as a possible market of the future, organic farming methods, the further development of integrated production, and questions revolving around the apple varieties of the future," said Thomas Mur, director of the Fiera Bolzano Exhibition Centre.
"The extremely satisfied exhibitors, the high international popularity and the interest of business and politics show us that Interpoma is an internationally unique event in our portfolio."
Interpoma technology award
This year's Interpoma Technology Award was all about technologies and machines.
The prize is awarded for technological innovations in the Field and Post Harvest categories by the Fiera Bolzano Exhibition Centre in collaboration with the Faculty of Science and Technology at the Free University of Bolzano and the Italian Society of Fruit, Vegetable and Flower Growers (SOI).
More than two dozen companies from eight countries took part. In the Field category, first prize went to CBC Europe - Biogard Division for the product Mister Pro + Isomate CM Mister 1.0. Meanwhile, Biometric, a division of Microtec, won the Post Harvest category with the Q Eye XP.
Exhibitors very satisfied
"The event was a complete success and the trade fair is very international: we were able to make contact with Americans and visitors from almost all over Europe and the world such as Canada and Australia," said William Connell-Smith, an engineer working for British exhibitor Redpack.
"Selling machines is not an easy task. First and foremost, we must be able to show interested parties the benefits of our products."
Gabriele Maccanti, owner of Maccanti Vivai, said: "We were pleased to register a large number of visitors. Many international visitors, especially from Greece, Spain, Israel, Tunisia, Morocco, Poland and Russia came to see us.
"This is a very positive sign, as it shows that people are interested in apples not only in Italy, but also in other Mediterranean countries and throughout Europe."
Elie Shahin, import manager of Kaf in Dubai, said this was her first time at Interpoma.
"We import most of our apples from Italy (Royal Gala, Golden Delicious, Granny). The trade fair gave us the opportunity to get to know the majority of our suppliers personally, and the technological aspect of cultivation was emphasised as well.
"It was simply great to learn something about the challenges of apple production and we are very happy to have met the people who supply our markets."
Stuart Tustin of New Zealand, a speaker at the congress and jury member of the Interpoma Technology Awards, said: "The variety of new technological concepts I became familiar with at Interpoma is simply fantastic.
"There are many different approaches, from automation and remote sensing systems to other very creative technologies. I think that in Northern Italy the fields of technology and mechanical engineering are very strong. What I saw impressed me a lot."
"Italian apples, due to their quality, cultivation methods and sustainable production, have all the characteristics needed to conquer distant markets," said Giulia Montanaro of Assomela, the Italian Association of Apple Producers.
"We are suffering somewhat from the fact that export institutions are not always as present as we would like them to be. We would like to work more closely with them, because as producers we really do everything we can to reach the markets of these countries.
"Over the past three days, this internationalisation of the industry was easy to observe at Interpoma. In the corridors, I met people from different nations as well as exhibitors from different parts of the world. In my opinion, this circumstance could also be put to practical use from an export point of view, i.e. the Italian apple market could be made more international so that Italian apples could conquer as many markets as possible."
The third edition of Interpoma China will take place for the first time in Shanghai in 2019.
"Interpoma Bolzano was an excellent opportunity to explore the interest of exhibiting companies in the Chinese market," said Martina Bonatti, exhibition manager of Interpoma China.
"The feedback was very positive and we already laid the foundation for a successful Interpoma China 2019. The trade fair will take place from 15 to 17 April as part of Fresh Logistics China organised by MMSH - Messe München Shanghai."