The Forum on Agri-food Industry, dedicated to technology and sustainability, presented “Made in Lazio” food and wine excellences, along with its production chain, at the Grand Hotel Millennium Business Bay in Dubai.
The event, part of the region’s participation at Expo 2020 Dubai, featured speakers including Quirino Briganti, who is responsible for Lazio Region activities at Expo 2020 Dubai; Giuseppe Finocchiaro, Consul General of Italy in Dubai; and Antonello Colonna, Michelin-starred chef and entrepreneur.
They were joined by Carlo Hausmann, General Manager of Agrocamera* who spoke about Lazio two thousand years of history on the table; Amedeo Scarpa, Director of Italian Trade Agency (ITA) in Dubai, who presented ITA’s promotional and accompanying actions in the UAE for the F&B sector; and Beatrice Calabrese, Senior Analyst, Italian Chamber of Commerce in UAE; who presented the situation of the Italian Agro-food export in the UAE.
While Paolo Cuccia, President of Gambero Rosso, who joined via video spoke about the production excellence as a vehicle for quality food and wine tourism; Federico Sannella, President of Unindustria food Section, presented sustainability and innovation in Lazio’s integrated supply chains; Leonardo Cinieri Lombroso, director and producer of the “Italian Chefs” series, took the audience through the story of Lazio cuisine, between identity and territory; and Rosario Scarpato, Founder of the 12th edition of the “Italian Cuisine World Summit,” presented the Emirates edition of the “Italian Cuisine World Summit.
Buyers, sector leaders for the Gulf countries were in also in attendance, including Bhushant Gandhi, CEO of Truebell, who gave the audience an overview of large-scale distribution in the region and market trends in the UAE; while Amani Khouchoue, Manager of Let’s Organic, provided a testimony of the largest organic food store in the UAE.
The forum ended with greetings from Alessandro Miceli, Executive Chef at Bella Restaurant & Lounge.
“Culture is Innovation, Sustainability, and Wellness – Lazio Eternal Discovery” is the slogan chosen by Regione Lazio for Expo 2020 Dubai. It summarizes efficiently the extraordinary opportunity offered by this event to the “Made in Lazio” products to establish new contacts with the Asian, North African, Mediterranean and Arabic world, as well as promote its products abroad.
Regione Lazio brings to Dubai the cultural and production excellences of the territory, represented by strategic sectors of international innovation, such as aerospace, health, cinema, fashion, precision agriculture, and agri-food. The agri-food sector, taking place until the 27th of November, is at the center of the regional program in Dubai. It aims to present to the world its regional agri-food production chain and offer regional enterprises the opportunity to promote themselves and consolidate their presence in foreign markets, encourage the diffusion of Lazio typical products, and face the challenge of innovating the production of typical products to attract potential customers.
Nicola Zingaretti, president of Regione Lazio, said: “Lazio is a region with incredible potentials and high-quality products, but often characterized by the lack of strategy and investments necessary to make them emerge on the markets. For this very reason, since the beginning of the previous legislature, we have decided to strongly sustain Lazio’s excellence, starting from those related to the agri-food sector. We have seen the results. Today, we bring to Expo Dubai a Region capable of being present on the global markets, stronger on exports, more attractive to foreigners, due also to the incredible richness of its tradition. In these years, we have focused on the sustainability of food, on the value of our lands and its products with a great transversal action. Today, the Expo Dubai event is the occasion to get back on track, after the pandemic, and show our newfound strength: the one made of our enterprises, our manufacturers, our beauty and creativity and cultural heritage, in an international context of great importance. We do that counting on products of very high quality, on our excellent know-how and, overall, on an innovative and eco-friendly production model, which we have developed and will continue to invest on”.
In this context, the “Week of the Italian Cuisine in the World” – the annual thematic event dedicated to the promotion of quality Italian cuisine and food products, promoted by the network of Embassies, Consulates, Italian Cultural Institutes and ICE offices abroad – is the best occasion to put the agri-food sector at the center of the Dubai exposition.
In Lazio region, the agri-food sector boasts around 50,000 enterprises and 70,000 employees. Out of which, above 66% are employed in agriculture cultivation, animal products, and related services, and 29% are employed in food and beverages industries. Lazio’s export in this specific sector has recorded a total value of 1,147,360,492 € in 2020, the same level as 2019 despite the pandemic crisis, showing even a growth compared with 2018 (with a surplus of 65.5 million of euros).
Paolo Orneli, Councilor for Economic Development, Commerce and Handicraft, University, Research, Start-Up and Innovation of the Lazio Region, said: “Regione Lazio is at Expo Dubai to present to the world the richness and the quality of its agri-food sector, as well as to offer to the enterprises of our production chain the opportunity to have access to foreign markets and encourage the diffusion of their products, fully accepting a challenge which passes through the innovation of the production process and the enhancement of typical products”.
According to Enrica Onorati, Councilor for Agriculture, Forests, Promotion of the Food Supply Chain and Culture, Equal Opportunities of the Lazio Region, “the internationalization of our enterprises and the opening of new markets, just like the Emirates’, is fundamental for the promotion and development of a network of a Made in Lazio model that outlines its future. Sustainability, Innovation, food culture, and well-being are issues that must be addressed and Expo Dubai is the ideal opportunity to do so and showcase our excellence.”
As the CREA 2021 report indicates, in Lazio Region, crops occupy 44% of the regional territory (42% is the Italian average) and represent 6% of national crops and 36.9% of those in Central Italy. Among the crop types, permanent fodder and pasture prevail (40%), followed by temporary fodder (25%), cereals and olive trees (11%), open-air vegetables (3%), vineyards (3%) and nuts (3%). Lazio also ranks fifth among the most representative regions for typical products, with 29 food products (equal to 9.6% of the total national basket) and 36 wines (6.9% of the national total) that have obtained the DOP (protected designation origin), PGI (protected geographical indication) or TSG (traditional specialty guaranteed). Out of 29 productions, 16 are DOP, 11 IGP, and 2 TSG. Given its attitude for these food excellences Lazio is continuing to consolidate and improve its agri-food to achieve its maximum potential.
Agri-food is a sector of excellence in Lazio, which has in the Regional Active Area of Bracciano, managed by Lazio Innova, an innovation hub dedicated to entrepreneurial projects and startups active in the agri-food and forestry production chain, with incubators dedicated to “startup go to market” in the agri-food sector. An example of how to experiment new production models and rationalize the offer of services to improve the competitiveness of the economy and the active participation of citizens.