6 December 2001
Fewer than expected at Agrivision
By Tom Allen-Stevens and Adrienne Francis
THE opening day of the Agrivision event about farmings future was quieter than expected, with some exhibitors disappointed at the low turnout.
Organisers had predicted that up to 9000 visitors would attend the event at the National Agricultural Centre, Stoneleigh, on 5-6 December.
But the head of food consultancy at ADAS, John Gazzard, said only about half of those who visited his companys stand were farmers.
But for those who made the effort, the quality of discussion was good, he said: “Theres purpose and objectivity behind the people who come.”
Mr Gazzard said the event had not sufficiently tackled the broader aspects of farming and the food chain.
“Given the title of the event, you would have thought this would be an opportunity for farmers to look outside conventional bounds,” he added.
But Neil Unitt, of the Farmplan computer company, had a much simpler explanation for the poor farmer turnout:
“Theres no touch and feel machinery or livestock here. This has been a good business-to-business event, but not good for business-to-farmers.
“If you want arable farmers, you need to lay on tractors, while livestock farmers will stay away unless there are animals.”
The event was organised by the Royal Agricultural Society of England after the cancellation of this years Royal Show due to foot-and-mouth.
RASE marketing manager Jane Spence declined to make any estimate of the number of attendees at the end of the first day.
“We are not a business; this has not been organised as a commercial revenue-raising event,” she said.
“Our main purpose is to provide a platform for people to exchange ideas and learn from each others experiences.
Ms Spence said the seminar areas at Agrivision held about 100-150 people and had been “packed out, with some farmers standing on the edges”.
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