It has been 7 days since the third edition of VIV MEA closed its doors in Abu Dhabi on November 25th. The organizers look back at this edition with a heartfelt gratitude towards all the global and regional exhibitors who placed their trust in VIV to return to an in-person event after a long pause and all the visitors and partners who made it onsite. It was an informative, exciting, busy and extremely productive show, with an outstanding quality of the profiles in attendance. A memorable edition, which the whole industry deserved so much.    

The visitor numbers that made the show a true success  

A total of 6,671 professional visitors made it to the 500 exhibitor booths at ADNEC halls 7 to 10 over the three days of the show. This 3rd edition of VIV MEA thus confirmed the success of 2018 in terms of visitor quantity, despite the limited traveling scenario. At the same time, visitor quality reached even greater results. In fact, 235 industry leaders participated in the event, while one-fourth of the total visitors were C-levels. 

Not only that, the high-quality of the visitors is reflected also by the rest of the profiles: 26% of the visitors were companies GMs or CEOs (one-fourth of the total as said); 15% were marketing and sales managers or representatives; veterinarians counted for a good 10%; distributors and dealers participated with a 8%; farm owners were 7% of the total visiting profiles; 5% were technical managers, engineers, or technician; and 4% were pure buyers, purchase or procurement managers.            

Sherine Edward Bassili, Egypt local agent for Giordano Poultry Plast, said, “We are very happy with our participation in the show. Being the first show after COVID-19, it’s good to see the industry in person again. We had visitors from Saudi Arabia, India, Pakistan and the Emirates, exactly our target regions, and we observed that the visitors now are even more serious to do business than in 2018.”

Impressive exhibitor presence and broad-spectrum of the products on display   

Sixty-six percent of the visitors came back to the exhibition halls for more than one day. This speaks volumes about the range of products and brands available onsite and about the seriousness of the participants in getting into detailed conversations with the suppliers. The re-visit on more than one day increased by +3.3%, compared to the last edition, reflecting both the high-quality of exhibitors and the size of the show that required more than a day to cover it. 

The booths at VIV MEA 2021 were continuously busy from day one to day two and the conversations proceeded far into the closing time on the third day. Business finally happened face-to-face with suppliers meeting their own agents after a long time, as Blueline group director, Afthar Hussain, mentioned, “We had the pleasure to meet again our distributors after a very long time.”

Innovations were also on display, such as the new multi-spectrum lightning concept introduced to the market at VIV MEA 2021 by Once Inc. “Multi-spectrum lightning already has been around for some time, but the very innovative implementation of the ND Dome is that it is working with light recipes. Farmers can set the start and end-date of their cycle in a dedicated app, using a smart device like a tablet or a phone.” said Sebastian Haskamp of Once Inc. “Being in COVID-19 times, it’s very good to see the same number of visitors as in 2018. We’ve spoken to people from Iraq, Pakistan, Egypt, Lebanon and the Emirates, all serious conversations with actual investment plans behind them," he further added. 

Exhibitors participated from 51 countries. Country pavilions at VIV MEA 2021 were: the USA Pavilion, the India Pavilion, the Korea Pavilion and the France Pavilion. 

A truly regional hub for the Feed to Food industry  

The U.A.E. topped the list with 29% of all the visitors coming from the country itself. Importantly, the majority of the visitors came from the rest of the world, with the GCC countries in the lead. Seventy-one percent of the visitors in fact came from outside of the hosting country. This makes VIV MEA a truly international show and a recognized hub for the whole Middle East and Africa. Specifically, the top 4 visiting world regions were: the Middle East with 70% of the visitors, Asia with 14%, Western Europe with 8% and Africa with 5%. Top countries represented by the visitors were: U.A.E., Egypt, Saudi Arabia (the country of honor for this edition), Iraq, Pakistan, Jordan, Bangladesh, Iran, India, Oman, The Netherlands, Turkey, Israel, Sudan, Germany, Kuwait and Lebanon. The total number of visiting countries was 90.  

Industry eaders from the entire GCC region made their way to VIV MEA 2021

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Important industry leaders and delegations were present at the show. A delegation of Abu Dhabi officials did a tour of the show floor on the first morning to meet-and-greet with worldwide market leaders and catch up on new ideas for sustainability.

H.E. Saeed Al-Bahri Salem Al-Ameri, DG Abu Dhabi agriculture and food safety authority and minister of climate change and environment Mariam Almheiri visited VIV MEA accompanied by H.E. Eng Jamal Salem Al Dhaheri, CEO of Silal Food and Technology, H.E. Dr. Shaikha Salem Al Dhaheri, H.E. Humaid Matar Al Dhaheri--CEO of ADNEC Group and Rashed Bin Rasas Al Mansory from ADAFCA.

Lebanon, ministry of agriculture, H.E. Louis Lahoud and a delegation joined on the third day, while the delegation of Progressive Dairy Farmers Association from India colored the show with their presence on day one.

“VIV MEA attracted the attention from many ministry representatives in the MEA region: not only from the Emirates, but we also received officials from Nigeria, Kenya, Sudan, Israel, Jordan, Zimbabwe and more”, said Anneke van Rooijen, relations manager VIV Industry Leaders & Delegations. 

Conferences highlights: new partnerships in the region and new formats

For the first time FAVA, the Federation of Asian Veterinary Association in association with EVA, the Emirates Veterinary Association, held an informative seminar at VIV MEA. Dr Quaza Nizamuddin Hassan Nizam, Dr. Roula Shaaban and Prof Bambang Pontjo Priosoeryanto were present at the morning session, followed by Dr. Mohammed Ezzat Elagamy, Dr. Ibrahim Mohamed El Fishawy, Dr. Mahmoud Haidar, Ph.D., Abdulaziz M Alateeqi and Willem Van Walt Meijer. 

A new conference format was introduced this year by Watt Global Media, MEAP–the Middle East Agrifood Publishers, and VIV into the market. The Poultry Marketing Roundtable, PMRT gathered 80+ major poultry producers of the Arab world, which accounts for more than 35% of the production in the MeNa region. H.E. Sheikh Hamed Bin Khadem Bin Butti Al Hamid especially attended the session for a welcome speech. The highly interactive PMRT concept managed to keep the attention of these market leaders for three hours between onsite presentations, online contributions and open table discussions. A very good experience that the organizers will present again in other VIV shows. 

“We had well attended aquatic events where speakers discussed several new technologies related to aqua feed. Topics covered were raw material, how to set up an aqua feed plant, grinding of raw material, extrusion of aqua feed and sustainability and some talks related to fish health. Participants asked questions and very well engaged with speakers,” said Tuti Tan, accounts manager at Perendale Publishers, about the Aquatic MEA program. 

A total of 20 conference sessions were offered to VIV MEA attendees, with more than 80 speakers sharing their knowledge to the region. 

Great time in Abu Dhabi, despite Covid protocols, a very pleasant time for the whole industry 

“Attendees at VIV MEA shared our excitement for being back to a live VIV MEA event again. To see the show back on track and in such a good health was really rewarding. I witnessed the energy and the good talks at the booths. Except for some very well attended content sessions, the conferences in general had a lower turn-up this year, despite the good pre-registrations. We will monitor this matter closely, although we see a good explanation for this in the fact people wanted to walk & talk. After a very good VIV MEA, we are now ready to replicate the experience in Europe, with the upcoming VIV Europe event in 2022,” said Renate Wiendels, senior project manager of VNU Europe. “For the organization of VIV MEA, I am grateful for the support in hosting and sharing information we received from the governments of the Unites Arab Emirates and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and ADNEC Exhibition Center. We look forward to a good collaboration for the next edition as well.”

See you at VIV MEA 2023

The organizer, VNU Europe, and the VIV worldwide team and partners would like to thank all exhibitors and visitors for yet another successful gathering of the Feed to Food industry at VIV MEA 2021. See you again at ADNEC from November 20-22 at VIV MEA 2023, Abu Dhabi, U.A.E.