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January 29, 2017

Green Week 2017: Closing Report

More of a leading trade fair than ever before

Agricultural policy discussions in a global context - Just under 400,000 visitors came to the trade fair and congress – Public keen to buy, spending 48 million euros – Partner country Hungary very satisfied

Once again the International Green Week Berlin 2017 emphasised its function as a leading trade fair for national and international agribusiness. From 20 to 29 January a total of 1,650 exhibitors from 66 countries provided a comprehensive review of the food industry’s global market and of the achievements of agriculture and horticulture. The discussions about ‘Animal Welfare’, the quality and safeness of the food we eat, and safeguarding the world’s food supplies in the face of a steadily increasing world population were among the aspects that dominated this trade fair. There was great satisfaction with events at the fair on the part of Hungary, which was this year’s partner country and was presenting specialities from all its regions. The German government was represented at the fair by its agriculture, development and environment ministries and dispatched five federal ministers to the Berlin Exhibition Grounds in search of information. More ministers than ever before came to Berlin, 83 in all from every continent, representing various departments. The highlight of the supporting programme of specialist events was the Global Forum for Food and Agriculture (GFFA) with its keynote subject of ‘Agriculture and Water – the Key to Feeding the World’. The three-day conference was attended by leading representatives of the world’s agriculture and food industries.

Dr. Christian Göke, Chief Executive Officer of Messe Berlin GmbH: “The quality level at the Green Week attained a new dimension at this year’s event. The dialogue about agricultural policy with over 80 ministers of agriculture from every continent, the global exchange of ideas with leading representatives of national and international agribusiness and the eye-catching presentations in the exhibition were the factors underlining the quality of the 82nd Green Week. They make the Green Week what it is today: the world’s most important exhibition for agriculture, food and horticulture.“

Messe Berlin registered at the trade fair and conferences of the Green Week 2017 total almost 400,000. In addition to visitors attending this event daily the halls were filled each day with some 10,000 personnel such as exhibitors and stand staff, service operatives and media representatives. Per capita expenditure by visitors to the fair remained at last year’s level, exceeding of 120 euros and providing exhibitors with sales worth more than 48 million euros.

Prominent politicians from home and abroad

Over 200 leading politicians from home and abroad attended the Green Week 2017 together with their delegations, and participated in the supporting programme of agricultural policy events. The German cabinet was represented by Christian Schmidt, Federal Minister for Food and Agriculture, Dr. Gerd Müller, Federal Minister for Economic Cooperation and Development, Dr. Barbara Hendricks, Federal Minister for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Construction and Reactor Safety, Peter Altmaier, Federal Minister for Special Affairs and Chief of Staff of the German Chancellery, and Manuela Schwesig, Federal Minister for Families, Senior Citizens, Women and Youth.

In addition to Berlin’s Governing Mayor Michael Müller, the German Minister Presidents Torsten Albig, (Schleswig-Holstein), Dr. Reiner Haseloff (Saxony-Anhalt), Bodo Ramelow (Thuringia), Stephan Weil (Lower Saxony), and Dr. Dietmar Woidke (Brandenburg) visited their own states’ displays. Representatives of the EU Commission who came to Berlin were Phil Hogan, Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development, and Vytenis Andriukaitis, Commissioner for Health and Food Safety.

Prominent politicians from all the parties represented in the German parliament came to the Green Week to obtain information.

Volker Kauder, MdB, Chairman of the CDU/CSU Group in the German Parliament; Dr. Peter Tauber, Secretary General of the CDU; Petra Pau, MdB, Vice President of the German Parliament; Gerda Hasselfeldt, MdB, Chair of the CSU Regional Group in the German Parliament; Katrin Göring-Eckardt, Chair of the Bündnis 90/Die Grünen Group in the German Parliament; Dr. Anton Hofreiter, MdB, Chair of the Parliamentary Group of Bündnis 90/Die Grünen; Simone Peter, Chair of the Parliamentary Group of Bündnis 90/Die Grünen; Cem Özdemir, MdB, National Chair of Bündnis 90/Die Grünen; and Dr. Dietmar Bartsch, Chair of the DIE LINKE Group in the German Parliament.

The opening ceremonies at the CityCube Berlin, attended by some 3,500 invited guests and including members of delegations from over 90 countries, were dominated by the partner country, Hungary, represented by its Minister for Agriculture, Sándor Fazekas. Joachim Rukwied, President of the German Farmers’ Union, and Dr. Wolfgang Ingold, Chairman of the Federation of German Food and Drink Industries, represented the non-commercial sponsors of the Green Week.

Statements by the supporting associations

The non-commercial sponsors commented on events at the Green Week 2017 as follows:

Joachim Rukwied, President of the German Farmers’ Union (DBV): “The International Green Week 2017 clearly showed that agriculture is facing up to its current challenges. The discussions about the changes taking place in agriculture, and its future, were more objective and dedicated to finding solutions. Visitors to the Green Week responded very well to the Farm Experience in its modern, new form. Consumers continue to be keenly interest in obtaining information about modern agriculture, the origins and processing of its produce, and in marketing and added value. Once again the Green Week demonstrated just how productive and innovative agriculture and the food industry are.”

Christoph Minhoff, Chairman of the Federation of German Food and Drink Industries (BVE): “Each year the International Green Week serves the entire food industry anew as an important and valuable platform for presenting its achievements. This was achieved again this year at the highest level. On our stand our federation has been able to inform consumers directly about these achievements in our ‘Food Dialogue’. This is a further step along the way in our efforts to provide a clearer picture of Food and Nutrition”.

Focus on the 9th Global Forum for Food and Agriculture

Factors such as economic expansion, population growth and urbanisation mean that competition for water is increasing. How can the farming industry fulfil its task of feeding a global population that continues to grow? And how can it contribute to managing water, a valuable resource, in sustainable ways? These were the issues focused on at the 9th Global Forum for Food and Agriculture in Berlin, which was organised by the Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture. From 19 to 21 January ten specialist panel discussions, two high-level panel discussions and an international business panel examined the key topic: ’Agriculture and Water – the Key to Feeding the World'.

German government strongly represented

The German government was especially well represented at this year’s Green Week. In addition to the traditional show by the Federal Ministry for Agriculture, visitors were also provided with information by the Federal Ministry for the Environment and the Federal Ministry for the Environment. Christian Schmidt, Federal Minister for Food and Agriculture, summed up events at the fair as follows: “Attention at the 82nd Green Week focused on the subjects of sustainability and future prospects for agriculture and food. With the state animal welfare label and the initial steps to abolish the killing of chicks we have made some important strides towards better animal welfare. In the efforts to achieve sustainable agriculture, more economical use of water and a reduction in the amount of antibiotics used in animal husbandry, substantial progress was made at two international conferences held during the IGW – the Berlin World Food Conference with 83 agriculture ministers from all over the world, and the G20 Meeting of Agriculture Ministers. The IGW 2017 is the most successful that I can recall.”

Among the international presentations this year interest focussed on the partner country with its slogan ‘Rich in tradition, diversity and nature: Hungary’. In particular it reflected the role of the Green Week as a test market. László Daróczi, Chief Executive, Agricultural Marketing Center (AMC, Hungary): “I am delighted that so many guests visited the Hungary hall, where they had the opportunity to sample the many high quality products from Hungary, and to acquaint themselves with some aspects of our culture.”

High-ranking members of international delegations also highlighted the role of the Green Week for marketing products and establishing new business ties. Norway’s Agriculture Minister Jon Georg Dale: “Norway has been taking part in the Green Week for 30 years now. We want to attract more culinary tourism and open up new markets abroad for our products.” Kimmi Tiilikainen, the Finnish Minister of Agriculture and Forestries: “For Finnish exhibitors the best thing about the Green Week is the direct feedback from consumers. It gives them an idea which products have a chance on the German market.” China’s Agriculture Minister Han Changfu was impressed on his first visit to the Green Week: “The fair is an outstanding event, a time for farmers to celebrate and an excellent opportunity for visitors to enjoy what agriculture stands for.” Dr. Emad Y. Al Daijy, Deputy Minister of Agricultural Development of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia: “The Green Week is without doubt a leading trade fair where not only governments can talk, but a place where business partners can also meet. It offers a comprehensive overview of technology, produce and products.” Lithuania’s Minister of Agriculture Bronius Markauskas: “The Green Week is very important for Lithuania. I was able to hold promising business talks on the first day with my colleagues from Brazil, India, Ukraine and Germany. Lithuania also has outstanding dairy and meat products which it aims to sell on the German market.”

Consumers are keen on regional products

The Green Week’s culinary tour of 14 German states in nine display halls underlined the current consumer trend towards regional products and featured the widest range of regional specialities on show at any trade fair. The authentic displays of regional products are very important for the individual states. Till Backhaus, Mecklenburg-West Pomerania’s Minister of Agriculture and the Environment: “The Green Week is a huge test market for products, brands and companies from Mecklenburg- West Pomerania. Our fish specialities are particularly in demand.” Thomas Schmidt, Agriculture Minister of Saxony: “The International Green Week is not only an exhibition for advertising farming and food industry products. First and foremost it is also a unique platform for cultivating political relations and acquiring support for common aims.” Dr. Jörg Bühnemann, managing director of Agrarmarketinggesellschaft Sachsen-Anhalt mbH: “The Green Week Berlin is an important test market for our company, for finding out how products, taste and new packaging are received. That is something exhibitors can get direct feedback on and talk about directly with visitors. The Green Week offers decisive pointers for developing product sales and is an important marketing instrument.”

Helmut Brunner, Bavaria’s State Minister for Food, Agriculture and Forestries: “We want to expand the market for Bavarian products and whet our guests’ appetites.” At the Green Week the minister met the Chinese ambassador Shi Mingde and among other things agreed on an initiative to market Bavarian products in China. Jörg Vogelsänger, Brandenburg’s Minister of Rural Development, Environment and Agriculture, also gave a very positive assessment: “Despite huge competition we were again able to showcase the capabilities and quality of our farming and food industries. In almost all cases sales lived up to expectations, whereby particularly at the Green Week the priority is not selling at the event but making personal contact, comparing what competitors have to offer and exchanging information and experiences. Demand among retailers for regional products is growing all the time.”

The subject of ‘Regional Characteristics’ is something that consumers can even taste, and is consequently of major importance for the retail food trade. Jan Bock, General Manager Purchasing, Lidl Germany: “We rate the Green Week very highly. This is where we meet many of our partners, representatives of the press and our customers. As in previous years we are presenting our own regional brand ’Ein gutes Stück Bayern’ (The Best of Bavaria) in the Bavaria hall on the stand of our partner, the dairy company Privatmolkerei Bechte. Here at the IGW we are particularly pleased this year to award the fresh milk label ‘Ein gutes Stück Bayern’ with the premium level of the animal welfare label of the German Animal Welfare Organization. The subjects of regional characteristics and animal welfare are very important to us. Parallel with the Green Week we are presenting products from Bavaria with the accolade ‘Ein gutes Stück Bayern’ (The Best of Bavaria) in our 250 Lidl outlets in Berlin, thereby giving Berliners a chance to sample them too.”

Professional Center markets exclusively to retailers

Featuring a wide-ranging display of regional food products away from the bustle of the fair the Professional Center in the Marshall Haus was well received by retailers. Exhibitors presented their foods here exclusively to trade visitors from the food retail trade, catering and the hotel industry. Producers were also able to advertise product seals and certification and supply important delivery information. At the Professional Center retailer and wholesaler representatives also came to inspect new products for their market potential.

Stephan Tromp, Deputy General Manager of the German Trade Association (HDE), expressed particular praise for the opportunities that the fair provides for making contacts: “The Green Week is an important shop window for identifying trends and establishing business contacts. For the buyers from our member companies the focus is on innovative products from the regions.” This was also confirmed by entrepreneurs such as Clemens Tönnies (Tönnies Holding GmbH & Co. KG): “I have been coming to the Green Week since 1975. Everyone of importance in our sector can be met at the Freshness Forum - Meat. This is where in-depth discussions take place about the future of our sector. I was very actively involved.”

Keen interest in special displays and new topics

Ranked in order of popularity, this year’s biggest attractions for the public were the Floral Hall (Hall 2.2), followed by the Livestock Hall (Hall 25) and the Bio Hall (Hall 1.2), which was tied in third with the Farm Experience (Hall 3.2) and the World of Pets in Hall 26. Consumers are especially keen on organic products which for years now have been an integral part of the Green Week. Dr. Felix Prinz zu Löwenstein, chairman of the Organic Food Production Alliance (BÖLW): “Organic farming and produce have become an established part of the German food industry. This is reflected in the growing importance of the Bio Hall at the International Green Week. It highlights both the significance of organic farming for protecting our climate, the environment and livestock, and the fact that more and more people are willing to buy organic products.

New sections, among them the Market Hall, were also very popular with visitors. Lars Jaeger, the project manager of the Green Week at Messe Berlin: “This experiment was a success. The Market Hall, which featured culinary creations such as black fries, vegan ice cream and trendy craft beer was also aimed at the younger generation.” The international wine display of DiVin, where visitors were able to taste wines and talk to winegrowers, also made a successful debut. Deutsche Wein Marketing GmbH (DWM), the organiser of the display, gave a positive assessment: “Considering it was the first time, this new display at the Green Week was very well received. Our exhibitors are very satisfied,” said Anja Seifert of DWM. The company has already said it intends to increase the display area and the number of winegrowers for 2018.

Impact of the Green Week extends far beyond Berlin

News from the Green Week was spread around the globe by the 4,820 media representatives from 65 countries. International coverage, combined with many reports about business and cultural activities, as well as entertainment and leisure opportunities in the capital, provided Berlin with additional publicity with long term benefits for the city. The expenditure by out-of-town visitors and exhibitors at the Green Week provided Berlin and the surrounding region with an influx of purchasing power worth around 150 million euros.

Dates of the next event: 19 to 28 January 2018

The International Green Week Berlin 2017 was organised by Messe Berlin GmbH. Its non-commercial sponsors were the German Farmers’ Union (DBV) and the Federation of German Food and Drink Industries (BVE). The 83rd Green Week will take place from 19 to 28 January 2018 on the Berlin Exhibition Grounds.

Additional press material:

This press release, 250 reports on day-to-day activities during the Green Week 2017, some 850 topical press photographs and a further 290 historic photographs, as well as 17 original sound recordings and videos are available for editorial use and can also be found on the internet: