Author: Karin Heinze
BioFach América Latina and ExpoSustenat can look back on seven and five years of success respectively as events promoting organic food, natural products and sustainability in Brazil. They have been organised by Nürnberg Global Fairs in collaboration with their Brazilian partner Planeta Organico. From 2010, their responsibilities are going to be reallocated: the new NürnbergMesse Brasil will take responsibility for organising the events, so that the team from Planeta Organico will have more time to establish and maintain contact with exhibitors and associations, and more time to devote to publicity work and political lobbying. We spoke to Ligia Amorim, the managing director of NürnbergMesse Brasil, and Beatriz Martins Costa and Rosina Guerra from Planeta Organico.
(picture, from the left: Frank Venjakob, Nuremberg Fair, Rosina Guerra, Ligia Amorim, Beatriz Costa, Alvaro Werneck, Planeta Organico)
Mrs Martins Costa, you’ve been closely associated with BioFach América Latina and ExpoSustenat since 2003, and together with the Planeta Organico team you’ve made them into the successful events we see today. When you look back, what do you think have been the most important outcomes?
We’ve created an international market place for organic products and a platform for sustainable initiatives and companies. But for me the most important result is the fact that standing behind more than 300 exhibitors a year are thousands of people – farmers and workers with their families who enjoy stability in their lives and have prospects thanks to the organic industry and sustainable initiatives. We’ve succeeded in getting five Latin American countries to take part in these specialist fairs, and little by little we are becoming more international. Over the years, BioFach has acquired a very good reputation and is t h e fair for the organic sector here in Latin America. It’s also good to see that organic and sustainable are concepts the public are becoming increasingly aware of, and consumers are gradually getting to know the benefits of organics.
Mrs Amorim, NürnbergMesse Brasil was founded 2009 and will take over the responsibility for organising these two events in 2010. To what extent are you familiar with the themes organic and sustainable?
When we talk about sustainability and organic food, we’re talking about life. I think it’s high time and saving our planet should be the concern of each and every one of us. I’ve also had 12 years experience in the trade fair business here in Sao Paulo, and I see very good growth prospects for the organic and sustainability industries. I would like to see the seeds sown in the last few years blossoming now, and I’ll use my good contacts and the network I built up during my activities in the fair business to that end. Synergies can be of great benefit and get things moving rapidly.
You had record numbers of visitors and exhibitors in 2008, making the fairs a great success. What, in your view, have been the highlights of the two events in 2009?
Once again, the most important ministries relevant to our work were represented here and had lavish stands, and the central government, the regional governments and many companies sent their key players. The important supermarket chain in Brazil, Pao de Acucar, introduced its eco-campaign, lots of people were interested in the gastronomy workshop, and its seminars attracted many visitors. A particular highlight was the panel that presented and discussed the requirements and planning for the Green World Cup in 2014. Many exhibitors provided us with lots of very useful feedback, and we are really pleased that the market is developing so positively.
Ligia Amorim: I am attending BioFach América Latina and ExpoSustenat for the first time and I have to say that I’ve been very impressed by the variety, lively character and atmosphere here at the fairs.
Mrs Amorim, Mrs Costa and Mrs Guerra, what are your aims and what are going to be the challenges in the next few years?
Ligia Amorim: My job is to be the driving force, to act as the motor as it were, to exploit to the full and expand what is, in my estimation, very great potential. It will be a question of introducing the concepts sustainability and ecology to other industries, of opening doors, making people aware and convincing them. I see great potential in the cosmetics industry, for example, where I have very good contacts. We are already thinking about what synergy effects are possible here. Another issue is making the events more international, but without jeopardising the balance with the internal market.
Beatriz Costa: We’ve concluded a long, democratic process of eco-legislation, and now we’re in the implementation phase. We’ve reached a milestone that will, I am convinced, have a huge effect on the awareness of consumers when the products with the state certification logo are on the shelves. It will boost credibility and transparency. Moreover, the future prospects of the eco-sector here in Brazil are more than just good, because the government’s decision to make the Football World Cup as green and sustainable as possible gives us in this sector a wonderful opportunity and additional motivation over the next few years.
Rosina Guerra: Organic has really huge potential, I do agree on that. The mega-events in 2014 and 2016 are great opportunities. But we mustn’t forget how committed the government in Brasilia has been to the organic sector in the past, just as it is today – think of the annual “Organic Week” held countrywide and the equivalent of almost 2 million euros the government has invested in this sector. Contact with political decision makers is getting better all the time and we are gaining their support for the issue of organic and sustainable that is our concern, because in politics too people are becoming more and more convinced that something fundamental has to be done quickly to save our planet.
Thank you very much for this interview.