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"Spain is a major power in the agri-food industry"

Ricardo Miguelañez. Agricultural Engineer @rmiguelanez

Ricardo Migueláñez.- What is Expo Milano 2015?

Teresa Lizaranzu.- It's a Universal Exhibition that will bring together 145 countries and various international organizations and NGOs with a focus on food in the broadest sense of the word. It is an excellent public diplomacy tool that will enable countries, organizations and visitors to share their knowledge about agri-food production and cooperation.

RM.- It seems like, this year, the Universal Expo will focus on food. What are the main themes of the event?

T.L.- The theme chosen by the organizers, "Feeding the Planet, Energy for Life", is extremely important and has infinite nuances. The main objective of the Expo is to reflect on the major challenges facing Mankind—hunger, malnutrition, food security and sustainable agriculture—within the framework of the United Nations Millennium Development Goals for 2015.

The Spanish pavilion's theme will be "The language of flavor". After holding several meetings with representatives of various productive and institutional sectors, we decided to focus the concept and program on three themes: agri-food production, the culinary experience, and agri-food cooperatives, areas in which Spain can share extensive expertise and knowledge.

 

RM.- How is Spain's extensive culinary panorama going to be conveyed in the pavilion?

T.L.- Spain is a major power in the agri-food industry, and it is recognized internationally. It is a traditional leader in a large variety of products, from both land and sea, and in their production and distribution.

That said, it's impossible to cover all products in a limited space (the Spanish pavilion will span slightly less than 3,000 m2). However, following the guidelines of the council of experts (institutional and private) that advised on the pavilion, the most important products have been selected (oil, wine, fruits and vegetables, Ibérico products, canned fish), products in which we are a global leader.

RM.- Around 2 million visitors are expected, which makes it an opportunity to show the world our food and gastronomy. What types of actions are planned? How can interested companies collaborate?

T.L.- A total of 12,000 people are expected to visit the Spanish pavilion each day. Our pavilion is going to be popular, especially among Italians. A very exhaustive range of activities are planned for visitors, including a video exhibition by artist Antoni Miralda (entitled "The journey of taste") and another, more educational and traditional exhibition on Spanish agri-food production (entitled "The language of taste").

The content will not be limited to just informational exhibitions. There will also be conferences, discussions, product tastings, cooking demos, concerts, etc. There will be a broad range of activities, for which we are drawing on the support and experience of the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Environment, the regional governments, and sector associations and institutions. Companies can collaborate through the channel established by their sectors, or through sponsorship. Detailed information is available on the website (www.pabellonespana2015.com).

RM.- Innovation is a very important issue in the food industry. How will the R&D and innovation under way in Spain be conveyed in the pavilion?

T.L.- Technological efforts by the agri-food sector are visible in the countless improvements in production quality and quantity. In addition to "The journey of taste" exhibition, which includes many examples of innovation, there will be seminars and discussions in the pavilion auditorium which will help raise awareness about Spain's advancements in this area.

One of the objectives of the Spanish pavilion identified by the advisory committee is to highlight the excellence of Spanish products, the result of ongoing efforts by companies to improve crops and the quality of our exports.

RM.- What about gastronomy?

T.L.- Spanish gastronomy has experienced extraordinary growth. Our cooking, which is so rich and varied, is known all the world over and people are starting to have a greater appreciation for its creativity. The culinary revolution that began a few decades ago in Spain is now recognized internationally. Modern Spanish cooking is viewed as appealing and innovative, and something that's worth trying. That's how the millions of tourists that visit Spain see it, as revenues from tourism continue to increase over time.

RM.- Lastly, what do you believe this event will enable Spanish agri-food companies to show the world?

T.L.- A universal expo is an extraordinary opportunity to show the world who we are, our products and our excellence, which is the result of experience and hard work by everyone involved in the agri-food sector, their efforts and expertise. It's a platform that will see more than 22 million visitors over six months (May 1st to October 31st, 2015). Few events reach such a large public in such little time, except maybe certain sporting events, like the Olympics. The Spanish pavilion will highlight the diversity and excellence of our products, and the tradition and creativity that goes into creating them. I would like to invite companies to collaborate with the pavilion, and I wish them the best of luck in their future endeavors.

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25/07/2017