(Feb. 8, PACKER WEB EXCLUSIVE) CULIACAN, Mexico — The agenda for doing international agri-business is becoming more evident at the 18th annual Expo Agro Sinaloa on Feb 6-9.

“This year, we see a substantial increase in commercial international missions visiting the expo,” said Patricio Robles, general director of the Confederation of Agriculture Associations from the State of Sinaloa.

“Although we have (people from) the same number of countries visiting us this year, there seems to be more commercial delegates and trade missions attending this year’s expo,” Robles said.

International and domestic retailers, commercial trade missions, strategic alliances, agro exporters, importers, researchers, agriculture associations and thousands of grower-shippers were among the 53,000 attendees at this year’s event.

Expo Agro Sinaloa 2008 attracted many international players dedicated to agribusinesses and farming sectors that come to Culiacan to build business alliances.

“Expo Agro has been the result of big efforts that have been accomplished for 18 years. Our goal is to provide growers with better techniques and knowledge in order to become more competitive,” Robles said.

People had the opportunity to learn the latest growing techniques, witness agriculture machinery at work and learn about the innovative greenhouse technologies, such as retractable greenhouses.

Manuel Tarriba, grower-elected president of CAADES, said the expo presents a forum that generates many business opportunities and contacts, as well as sharing common goals and infrastructure projects.

“The public has the opportunity to buy machinery, do business and learn from top industry experts that have transformed agribusiness with their research studies,” Tarriba said.

More than 520 representatives from 27 countries exhibited their latest growing techniques, farming equipment and machinery and research studies.

Some of the countries present at the expo: Argentina, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, China, Colombia, Cuba, Denmark, France, Germany, The Netherlands, Norway, Israel, Italy, Japan, Spain, Sweden, and the United Kingdom, the U.S.,Venezuela.

“For us, Mexico is one of the most important greenhouse-irrigation systems customers,” said Asier San Millan, foreign trade promotion developer for Agragex, the Spainish exporters association of agricultural machinery, components, irrigation systems, livestock and post harvesting equipment.

“We believe we will have a good business relation with our Mexican customers at this year’s expo. San Millan said.

The expo also hosted conferences, panel discussions and seminars presented by leaders in the industry.

Expo visitors had the opportunity to tour many of Sinaloa’s top growing produce regions, greenhouses and packaging facilities and learn about food safety efforts.