14 Georgian companies took part in GulFood 2021, the international exhibition of food, beverage, and industry HoReCa, which was held in Dubai in the United Arab Emirates on February 21-25, 2021. The participation of Georgian companies at the exhibition was co-financed by the Produce in Georgia Agency and the USAID Agricultural Program in Georgia. The exhibition presented Georgian nuts, fresh and frozen fruits and vegetables, natural juices, dried fruits, honey, bay leaves and tea.
Roman Kezharashvili, the export manager of the Produce in Georgia Agency, noted on the air of the Business-Partner program that due to the COVID-19 pandemic, 2020 was a difficult year in terms of exhibitions in the food and beverage industry. Nearly all exhibitions were postponed or cancelled and the online space for such a sector was much less efficient. Thus, the GulFood 2021 exhibition was practically the first event to be held in person after a long hiatus.
Mr Kezharashvili stressed that GulFood 2021 is one of the most authoritative and demanded international exhibitions in the food sector, which before the start of the pandemic received about 100,000 visitors annually. “Although the total number of visitors was 20-30% less this year according to our observations, almost all of them were potential buyers and there were practically no tourists.”
“It is too early to talk about concrete results (volumes, etc.) for Georgian producers. Yet, our companies were actively negotiating and I am sure they have new opportunities,” he said.
This is not the first time that the Georgian company Agritouch has become one of the participants at GulFood. The founder of the company, Ekaterina Vepkhvadze, told EastFruit that she was satisfied with the outcome noting that the exhibition provided a good opportunity to get acquainted with sector participants from various countries, establish contacts, and conclude preliminary agreements.
“Our company presented several types of products at the exhibition and the main one was blueberries. The popularity of this berry all over the world is very high, but Georgia as a producer is still little known so we tried to give the maximum amount of information,” she said.
Ekaterina Vepkhvadze noted that the interest in agricultural products at the exhibition was quite high. She thanked the Produce in Georgia Agency and the USAID Agricultural Program for financial support for the participation of Georgian companies in the exhibition.
Mamuka Beriashvili, a representative from the company NutsGe which produces natural and processed hazelnuts, told EastFruit that at GulFood, despite the relatively limited number of countries represented at the exhibition this year the event was very significant. The main participants were countries from the Middle East, South America, and the post-Soviet space. There were practically no participants from EU countries, the United States, and China.
“It was definitely worth going to this exhibition since we gathered a lot of contacts. The visitors were mostly professionals who knew what they wanted,” said Mamuka Beriashvili.
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