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ITALY TO PRESENT ITS TOP PRODUCTS AT AGRISHOW 2008 IN BRASIL
The Italian agricultural machinery sector, represented by the trade association Unacoma (National union of agricultural machine manufacturers) accounts for more than 60% of EU output in this industry. Made in Italy products, therefore, could not go amiss at the 2008 edition of Agrishow , the one of the three biggest agricultural fairs in the world and most important one in Latin America. Italian producers will take part in it through an official delegation organised by ICE, the Italian Trade Commission. The fair will take place from the 28th April to the 3rd May in Ribeirao Preto, a city about 300 kilometres away from Sao Paulo in a region where 70% of Brazilian mechanised agricultural manufacturing is based. Last year the exhibition, spread over more than 240 hectares of surface area, was visited by 155,000 people ‚Äď at least 3,000 of them came from abroad ‚Äď and had over 500 exhibiting firms, of which 10% were foreign, and displayed more than 3,000 different brands.
Italian traditions in the mechanised agricultural sector are first rate: it was two Italians, Francesco and Eugenio Cassani, that produced in 1927 that applied for the first time a diesel engine to a tractor. This innovation offered innumerable advantages compared to previous agricultural machinery. The ‚ÄėCassani tractor‚Äô is only one of the landmark products conceived by Francesco Cassani, the founder in 1942 of SAME (Italian acronym for ‚Äúlimited partnership firm for endothermic engines), whose workshops in 1952 produced the first four-wheel drive diesel tractor in the world. Today the group is known as Same Deutz-Fahr, and it has become one of the five world players in this sector, with an annual turnover worth more than 1 billion euros. In 2006 the company launched a successful takeover bid on the historic German brand Deutz Ag, whose lineage goes back to Nicolaus August Otto, the founder, together with Eugen Langen, of N.A. Otto & Cie, the world‚Äôs first engine factory.
The objective of the Italian delegation at Agrishow 2008 is to strengthen and create new trade links with dealers in a market that has great potential. Brazil is one of the largest agricultural producers in the world and it not only satisfies demand for food, both domestically and abroad, but also works for the biofuels industry, growing in popularity given the rise in the price of oil. At the moment Brazil accounts for one-third of the world‚Äô output of sugar beet, having produced 455 million tonnes of it in 2006 (latest data according to Fao). The productivity of the crop, equal to 74 tonnes per hectare, is lower than those achieved in Australia, China, Colombia and Mexico, but is higher than the world average (68 tonnes per hectare). And there are real chances to increase productivity further if more agricultural machinery is used.
Italy, therefore, can aim to conquer bigger market shares in Brazil: according to Istat (the Italian National Statistical Office) in the first nine months of 2007 exports in this sector increased by 5.6% for tractors and by 7.6% for other types of machinery. The overall value of sales abroad has surpassed the 2,7 billion euros mark, and the United Kingdom, France (+7,6%) and Spain (+3,9%) are the main export destinations. Brazil, for the moment, is only a potential market: between January and September 2007 (ICE‚Äôs statistics) exports of agricultural tractors and moto-cultivators were worth just under 1 billion euros (919,000 euros), increasing by 391,66% compared to the previous year.
One of the drivers of growth in Brazil could be the biofuels sector. According to Unacoma, which has been working for years with professional agricultural associations to explore and promote new production chains with the objective to support the development of business alternatives and the search for new markets, this is an extremely interesting sector. In February 2008 the Bites project (Biofuels Technologies European Showcase) was launched, supported by Unacoma and Itabia and funded by the European Union; the aim is to spread best practices in the use of biofuels by analysing 120 particularly significant examples in Europe.