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Strawberry Congress returns in September; Logistica eases restrictions

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The International Strawberry Congress is coming back to Belgium in mid-September, offering latest in guidance and networking opportunities to those in the soft fruit sector.

Organised by Hoogstraten, the event at the Flanders Meeting and Convention Centre in Antwerp will take place from 21-22 September, featuring panel discussions and critical presentations for those who want to learn more about “A Strawberry’s Journey: Leadership in a Digital and Sustainable Future”. A third day of field trips has been planned at the International Mechanisation and Demonstration Strawberry Fair at the Research Centre Hoogstraten promises glasshouse demonstrations including mechanisation and sustainable water use.

The combination of international growers, suppliers, marketers and retailers are expected to discuss a range of scientific and commercial topics, including “breeding, phenotyping and strawberry physiology to integrated pest management and innovative cultivation techniques.” A big focus of the event will be on emerging tech such as robotics, automation, artificial intelligence and vertical farming as well as packaging and postharvest biology.

This is the first time in five years the event is being held. The last one saw some 300 delegates from more than 26 countries involved.

Officials say the speaker lineup will be chosen soon, though it will be led by fresh produce industry journalist Michael Barker. Registrations are now open at www.iscbelgium.com, and early-bird participants will receive a €205 discount on the registration fee.


Fruit Logistica eases COVID protocols

Six weeks ahead of its annual show in Berlin, Germany, Fruit Logistica said that due to decisions in Germany and other European countries to relax COVID-19 related restrictions, the event has also eased entry requirements for participants.

In a statement, the event now requires proof that participants were vaccinated or have recovered from Covid-19. Or, visitors without vaccinations or for those with non-EU approved vaccines, a negative PCR test no more than 48 hours old will also suffice. 

The organizers said that mask mandates in the display halls or on public transportation will remain in place.

Fruit Logistica 2021 had been pushed back, first from its May 2021 date and then again in November 2021 organizers decided to push it out again until April 2022, past the proposed February 2021 dates, following an uptick in Covid-19 infection rates. 

In the current statement, organizers ensured that it was important to facilitate an in-person event, and that interest is at a high for such opportunities. 

More than 3,300 exhibitors from 91 countries presented their products, services and technical solutions at Fruit Logistica 2020, the event’s latest installment. Around 73,000 vendors and trade visitors from 135 countries.

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