The 45th edition of EIMA, an International Agricultural and Gardening Machinery Exhibition, hosted in Bologna, Italy from 9-13 November convened  327 100 delegates from about 160 countries. From world thought leaders, farmers associations, innovators, manufacturers to start-up companies, converged to engage in B2B meetings, panel discussions and the biggest agriculture machinery exposition in the world. The event is an initiative of the Italian Trade Agency (ICE) and the Italian Federation of Agricultural Machinery Manufacturers (FederUnacoma).

This year’s hybrid event comes at a time of economic and geopolitical turmoil, which is affecting food security and economic shocks. However, the immediate challenges faced by the world must not distract people from the real fight, which is climate change. This is why the issue of renewable energy and water conservation were among key topics discussed by experts at the conference areas. Africa is especially vulnerable to these effects. According to the Acting Chief Economist of the African Development Bank (AfDB), climate change is costing the continent between 5% and 15% of its per-capita GDP growth. As time passes, those losses could increase considerably, with agriculture suffering the most. This would have devastating consequences not only for economic development, but also for food security.

According to FederUnacoma Deputy Director General Fabio Ricci , EIMA aims at tapping into the growing opportunities and demands of the agriculture sector across the world. The need for agricultural machinery in Africa and the world is vast, as most countries’ crops are extensive and diversified. He explained, “The exhibition  addresses an audience of professional operators, and is presented with a rigorous product subdivision that envisages 14 sectors of specialisation and five themed shows, respectively dedicated to components (EIMA Components), irrigation systems (Idrotech), bioenergy supply chains (Energy), advanced electronic and information technologies (Digital) and gardening and landscaping (Green).

To guide visitors through the vast pavilions of the exhibition (120 thousand square metres of net exhibition space) and to promote business relations, the ICE Agency and FederUnacoma organised targeted visits to the various sectors of the exhibition and “B2B” meetings between trade operators and manufacturers, while a rich programme of conventions and seminars provided an in-depth look at technical issues, such as those relating to climate change and the management of water resources.

Further to that, ICE Director, Riccardo Zucconi added, “Renewing the agricultural sector means significantly increasing the profitability of production and the quality of life of Africa’s rural communities. Every production, from cereals to oilseeds, to vegetables and fruit, requires specific machines, capable of preparing and carrying out sowing, fertilisation, treatments, irrigation and harvesting. On show at EIMA are multiple models of machinery and equipment specifically for these crops, many of which are designed specifically to operate in climatic and environmental settings such as those in Ethiopia and certainly more suitable for the country’s small farms.”

At EIMA International there were about 50 thousand models on display, produced by the more than 1,500 manufacturers present, representing 50 countries. “In a sector such as agriculture that is becoming increasingly strategic in the African setting, to respond to demographic growth and to increase the autonomy of individual countries while also protecting them from geopolitical factors that can jeopardise food supplies, there is need for African leaders, farmers and experts to attend events such as EIMA. There should be a development model that aims to increase productivity and welfare, but with the utmost attention to the environment and natural resources that are a heritage to be protected and handed over to future generations,” concluded Zucconi.