From global Challenges to Grand Opportunites

6th International Conference of FMCH, Retail & Agribusiness Industry, Vienna 

Vienna, February, 18, 2016- After five years of organising conferences in the Southeast Europe region, the 6th International Conference of FMCH, Retail & Agribusiness Industry was held in Vienna, Austria.

The meeting brought together more than 80 professionals, investors and entrepreneurs from these industries to exchange information and attract investors to the region, and to established new co-operation and find new markets in the region and globally.

Food and business associated with it is an important link in the economies of less developed transition countries that depend on rural areas, said Miljan Ždrale, Head of Agribusiness for CSEE at the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development in London. "Here we have the opportunity to share knowledge and experience of the company and the country in achieving the potential growth of this economic sector. We at EBRD are working on the fifth year of the strategy, and if we do not receive input from those who come from this sector it will be wasted time. We are listening to our partners in this sector as we want to choose the best tools to help in developing Agribusiness," said Ždrale.

The EBRD over the next five years, intends to significantly promote the potential of the private sector in food security, to promote higher standards, and to help the sustainable development of the sector and exchange knowledge, Sylvia Gansser-Potts, managing director at the Centre for Southeast Europe, EBRD in London, announced. "This region is important to us, and that is a reason why we had invested more than €6.5 billion in it. We are working to create a good balance between large and small companies. In co-operation with banks we are trying to develop projects that will provide cheaper capital for small business projects. We encourage all countries to take advantage of the money they have at their disposal in order to help the economy, "said Sylvia Gansser-Potts.

Josef Schmidhuber, deputy director of Statistics at the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation - FAO - pointed out that the world will, until the middle of this century, face many problems. "Most important drivers of food production are population growth, urbanisation and an ageing population. The world will not double its population, but the impact of the energy sector, the production of biomass and biofuels, as well as the demand for food with more added value, will significantly alter the image of this sector in the world", says Schmidhuber.

Dumitru Daniel Botanolu, State Secretary at the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development in Romania pointed out that the food market is changing and product prices are getting lower. "The biggest concern we have is irrigation, as well as sustainable development and the preservation of the land from pollution. This is one reason why we increased investment in sustainable irrigation to €1 billion in the next five years," said Botanolu.

Milos Milovanovic, Coordinator for FAO/EBRD projects in Serbia points out that the penalty for Russia introduced by the European Union has a significant impact on food producers. "Agriculture, which is strong and important for the economy of Serbia, was given the opportunity for their products, while at the same time commodities that had been exported to Russia put pressure on the domestic food market", said Milovanovic.

Miodrag Kostic, President of MK Group points out the export imperative for a big company and his will have an advantage due to its size in the consolidation taking place in the markets. "In our company we have Uberisation. A new digital era is coming and we must prepare for it. It is necessary for us to connect ourselves with the clients via smart phone, and that is needed across the entire economy. Who does not realise that, will fail," he said.

Neven Vranković, Vice President of Atlantic Group points out that their biggest problem is going to the markets in the region where they are treated as foreigners even though they have manufacturing plants in those countries. „For direct foreign investment in the local economy investors get great support. But goverments are doing everything to protect this small market and every effort is made to prevent international trade of goods," warns Vranković.

At the conference, participants discussed the possibilities of growth in the production of food products, the development of family companies, and digital technologies, and the first day of the conference was concluded with a round table: The Future Retail Contex: Adapt, Innovate, Be Digital.

About FRA Arena:

Over the last five years the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development and Infoarena established the platform, FRA ARENA Conference and business community network, for development and investment into Agribusiness, Retail and FMCG sector in SouthEast Europe on sustainable level. 

The Conference was dedicated to relationships in food sector, consumer goods and trade relations across the region. During the last five years many decision makers from both private and public sectors, leading companies, investors and other important stakeholders have changed their business, views, visions, values and experience. Many M&A activities change the environments in the region and have not made it more competitive at the regional level.

regional level but also on European and global level.


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