OPF Mexico 2021: the countdown has begun

MEXICO DF, Mexico: Organisers JMT Consultores, OPF Mexico’s Consultative Council and IPM Essen are gearing up for the 2021 edition of the show that will combine both in-person and virtual experiences. In Mexico City’s  Citbanamex convention centre, 80 exhibitors will treat a mixed audience of face-to-face and remote industry professionals to fresh cut flowers, cut foliage, potted plants, trees, shrubs, perennials, horticultural supplies, and everything in between.

In 2019, the world’s premier show for ornamental horticulture, IPM ESSEN, announced another expansion of its international network by opening a new trade show in Mexico. The inaugural ornamental Plants and Flowers (OPF) show took place between 18-20 September 2019, attracting 118 exhibitors from 11 countries.

Needless to explain why this year’s OPF will be smaller than in 2019. More important is that the event organisers have explored every possible option to make the show go well adapting their working practices to the global health situation and travel restrictions. The result is a top notch hybrid event incorporating both in person and virtual elements.

One of the highlights of the show includes the inaugural International Forum on Floriculture in Mexico that will take place on 18 November from 10 am to 2pm. The conference will discuss discuss how the industry can tap into Mexico’s growing ornamental horticulture industry on 18 November 2021 from 10am to 2pm (Central Standard Time). https://opfexpo.com/2021/09/foro-floricultura-mexicana-2022-2030/

Mexico is the second-largest economy in Latin America. The country has a population of nearly 130 million, many of which love flowers. The Mexican society has deep roots in floral tradition, which explains why the nation boasts a sizeable home production of young plants, cut flowers, houseplants, annuals, perennials and nursery stock products.

This year, the Netherlands is the partner country of OPF Mexico. The Dutch will be strongly presented with greenhouse technology expert Alexander Boedijn from Wageningen University & Research and Erik Plaisir, agricultural counsellor at the Dutch embassy in Mexico DF revealing a radical new vision for Dutch agriculture during a forum on circular agriculture on 18 November from 3:30pm to 5pm (Central Standard Time). The objective of the event is to exchange experiences, challenges and best practices that the Netherlands is facing in their transition to sustainable, resilient, nature-friendly agriculture. https://opfexpo.com/2021/09/foro-agricultura-circular-2021/

The Horti Innovation Programme, a series of talks and keynote presentations on crop and tech related issues, will run during the show’s entire three days. https://opfexpo.com/2021/11/foro-horti/

The same applies to the Masterclass on Floristry including presentations on the latest trends in floristry. Programme: https://opfexpo.com/2021/09/sala-creacion-master/

Another show stopper includes the inaugural novelty contest, which will give growers the opportunity to exhibit their new flower and plant varieties. The winner will be determined according to a vote cast by those attending the event, which will be nurserymen, growers, representatives of self-service stores, floral designers, among other industry players. Vying for the highest honour will be orchids, anthuriums, roses, potted plants, cut foliage and bulbs.

OPF has the added bonus for international attendees of being able to visit some of the country’s leading flower and plant nurseries in the state of Morelos on 15 and 16 November. Among the visits planned are the tissue culture lab of FIRA Tezoyuca and young plant producer Tecnoflor. Growers and researcheres will walk visitors around their properties while sharing their knowledge.

Another OPF specialty the Remote attention stand. This service entails the presence of a booth with the corporate image of the company, which will have QR codes that will give access to product views, technical data and supplier profiles thanks to the technological support of the e-B2B Connect platform.

The grand opening of the OPF show is planned at 11am (Central Standard Time) on 17 November with Cuauhtémoc Blanco Bravo (Constitutional Governor of the State of Morelos), Santiago Arguello Campos (General Director of Fomento a la Agricultura y Encargado de la Oficina de la Coordinación General de Agricultura of the Mexican Ministry of Agriculture), Wilfred Mohr (His Excellency Ambassador of the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in Mexico), Martin Nissen (Agricultural Attaché of the German Embassy in Mexico) , Enrique Arias Velazco (President of OPF Mexico), Mariano Oropeza Sosa (President of the State of Morelos Ornamental Producers Council, best known as CEPOMAC), Ana Cecilia Rodriguez (Secretary of the Ministry of Economy and Labour of the State of Morelos) and Erik Plaisier (Agricultural Attaché of the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in Mexico and Cuba) joining forces for the cutting ribbon ceremony.

OPF Mexico will act as a platform for strengthening and creating new trade relations with international companies, fuelled by the renewal of T-MEC. The T-MEC Treaty between Mexico, Canada and the US is a major opportunity to establish international alliances with Mexico. The three countries have pledged to simplify custom procedures along with other rules to facilitate trade. Thanks to its proximity to the United States, Mexico is a strong business partner, just think of the low transportation and lower labour costs.

OPF Mexico is known for being tech-savvy as it has created digital matchmaking for growers under the B2B Conecta brand. The idea is that all attendees, staff and exhibitors will download the app or enter through the web platform to contact remote exhibitors, attend conferences, and take virtual tours. Exhibitors will have both in-person and on-site presence thanks to the development of the Events section within the virtual business centre.

This tool allows people to register for the expo, exhibit their products, data sheets and company profile before, during and after the event. The exhibitor package includes a one-year membership in the platform and the expo information will remain accessible throughout the year. On the platform, available on pc and apps on Android and IOS, visitors will be able to take virtual tours, attend forums and conferences and also engage in business meetings with exhibitors through real-time chat, email and video calls.

Thanks to the platform, in-person and virtual attendees will be able to communicate with remote exhibitors through videoconferencing, real-time chat or emailing through the platform. There will also be virtual access to the exhibition, where they will be able to find the entire catalogue of products and suppliers, register to the forums and conferences of their interest and be able to observe them remotely and timelessly, as well as take the virtual tour in 3D, as if they were inside the expo, which we are sure will attract many more visitors and will give much dynamism to our event. For more information visit https://b2bconecta.io/

OPF has been granted AIPH’s D category stamp of approval, which is a great honour, says OPF president Enrique Arias. “We know that the AIPH association watches over the benefit of the horticultural industry and strives to connect all parts from the value chain including breeding, production, trade and marketing in order to be a friendly and profitable business platform for the entire industry of plants and flowers. We are also very pleased to represent Mexico at a global level and to be able to inform our colleagues around the world of the progress that our country has at productive, technological and economic levels.”

Arias concludes by saying that ornamental horticulture in Mexico is an industry for which a promising future of expansion lies ahead. “Mexico has the benefit of international trade agreements and alliances that allow the Mexican ornamental industry to seek business abroad. The T-MEC treaty provides our workers, farmers, ranchers and businesses with a high-quality trade agreement that will result in freer markets, fairer trade and strong economic growth in our region. In addition,  Mexico’s geographic position is attractive to the North American market given our country’s low transportation, logistics and labour costs. The country’s benign climate, its different altitude and temperature zones, facilitate the production of almost all ornamental species and varieties in Mexico.”

If OPF is a barometer of how the Mexican flower industry is performing, Arias thinks that despite the extremely challenging business environment everyone can be a winner. “It is evident that the winners are producers who work according to the rules, respect intellectual property and are in permanent search of new markets. The most affected producers are those who do not make an effort to innovate and improve their quality, who prefer to remain in their comfort zone servicing traditional markets that do not demand quality and formality. OPF’s purpose is to help  professionalise and internationalise Mexico’s plant and flower industry, landscaping and floral design industry; to create a robust and transversal green business platform with local and global vision using the latest digital technologies; and to bridge the gaps between production and trade to create a friendly and profitable business platform.”

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