#AFID2023: Connecting Farmers, Producers and Buyers
Jun 19 2023
AFID2023 witnessed a series of highly productive matchmaking sessions that brought together key players in the agrifood industry. These sessions, organized by the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) in collaboration with QOOT Cluster, as well as the QOOT Cluster stand-alone meetings and BASATINE, created a vibrant platform for partnerships and collaborations to thrive.
In total, an impressive 346 meetings took place, involving 11 international and 2 local buyers, benefiting over 130 startups and SMEs. The matchmaking efforts were instrumental in connecting entrepreneurs with potential buyers, investors, and industry experts, enabling them to explore new business opportunities and expand their networks.
UNIDO, in partnership with QOOT Cluster, facilitated 66 meetings that focused on fostering connections and exploring synergies within the agrifood sector. These sessions provided a valuable space for entrepreneurs to showcase their innovations and discuss collaboration possibilities with industry leaders.
Alexandre Boustani, Business Development Manager at Patibon Chocolate, commented: “We are meeting buyers to export our product outside the Lebanese borders. Our main markets are the MENA region and Europe, USA, and Canada. This is why we came to do this matchmaking activity organized by QOOT and UNIDO to meet the buyers interested in our products.”
Giovanni Lombardo, Business Development Director of Sapiens Global commented: “We found products that could be interesting for the Singapore market because of several things, they come from the Levant which is a place known for the bounty of its production. Everybody in the world knows that Lebanese products are tasty. We met here a lot of innovations great for the Singaporean market, products rich in flavor in balance with exceptional packaging.”
QOOT Supports Cluster Members with Matchmaking Sessions
QOOT Cluster played a significant role in the matchmaking activities, hosting 280 stand-alone meetings. Additionally, QOOT organized 34 meetings that included participants from other Berytech programs, such as Agrytech Special Edition, Transdairy, Phemac, BMG, Food System Challenge (FSC), REAF, and SAFI. This collaborative approach allowed for cross-pollination of ideas and expertise, enriching the overall matchmaking experience.
Furthermore, one-on-one clinics offered entrepreneurs personalized business advice in marketing, empowering them with valuable insights and strategies to enhance their market presence and reach.
Sven Van de Wynkele is the Managing Partner of LYST by and Libons Belgiumand, a buyer who attended our Agri-Food Innovation Days 2022 and met with many interesting small, family, innovative, and startup companies and came back to this year’s edition remarked: “The advantage of these matchmaking activities is that in a very short time frame, you get introduced to very innovative small family companies, startups which is very effective and efficient for a company that imports products from Lebanon. Now, the big challenge is that there is no brand equity for Lebanese products in Europe. Products are competing against French, Spanish Italian, and Greek products that usually are better in price, so it’s important to invest a lot in branding and brand equity to prove that the products are with the pricing.”
BASATINE, a prominent player in the agrifood industry, organized a highly successful matchmaking session that brought together nearly 70 farmers and 22 SMEs. This dynamic platform facilitated meaningful discussions, encouraging participants to explore potential partnerships and collaborations. With 78 productive meetings held, the matchmaking session acted as a catalyst for valuable connections and future collaborations. The exchange of ideas, challenges, and aspirations sparked inspiration and opened doors for mutually beneficial endeavors.
The matchmaking activities at AFID2023 served as a testament to the industry’s thriving ecosystem and the commitment to driving innovation and collaboration. By facilitating connections and fostering partnerships, these sessions played a crucial role in empowering entrepreneurs and propelling the growth of the agrifood sector.