Davide Daresta, marketing manager at Arrigoni, an agrotextile and techtextile manufacturer from Italy, speaks to African Farming about the company’s projects and plans in place for East Asia and Africa
How has Arrigoni faced challenges due to Covid-19 in the last couple of years?
Davide Daresta: Actually, our sector did not face too many problems during the pandemic. Fortunately, every grower had to continue producing and so we continued selling and giving solutions to our customers. Of course, we had problems logistically, as traditionally we would like to be near our customers, which was not possible due to Covid-19. We like to give our expertise not only just to sell our products but we aim to be a real partner for our customers. We are one of the few companies in the sector that has an in-house team of agronomists and experts from many areas of agriculture. So this was one of the problems we had to face, the fact that we are usuallypresent physically around the globe with our agronomists to offer support to the customers and could not do it due to the pandemic. But the market wasn't so bad for our factory in the last two years.
Would you think the same kind of scenario is valid for Africa and Far East Asia?
Davide Daresta: As we are a global company, we, unfortunately, could follow the spread of the pandemic and its effects. So it is true that in some periods for example, at the beginning of the pandemic, we experienced problems in the far east where the market was a little volatile. But after this, we could now feel that everything is starting to back up again, and there is a huge interest in investing, new installations and new greenhouses. There is also a high demand for our products as well.
Regarding Africa, I can say that we didn't feel any changes due to the pandemic regarding consumer interests in our products. We are focusing on one of our best markets, which is Morocco. The country is doing well considering it expects a high level of quality in its businesses, in general.
We are also concentrating on the southern part of Africa and we had some big projects completed in Namibia in 2020. We successfully completed a project for Blueberry production in Namibia, near the border of Angola. These installations were so good that it has led us to plan a similar project in 2022 in the same area.
Can you provide details on the projects planned for the next year?
Davide Daresta: We are very interested in flower production in the eastern parts of Africa and we intend to expand there as well. We do not have any ongoing projects currently but we do have plans for it.
Any projects being planned for the markets in Asia?
Davide Daresta: Nothing specific but one of our most important case histories in the last year is from Malaysia. We installed a net house, a particular form of hybrid installation in which the concept lies between a real greenhouse and an open field solution. A protector was also installed on top of the net house. This product is a screen made of fabric originally used to conceal and act as protection against excessive rains. But what it has really done is act as a multi-protective tool to protect cultivation from hail, excessive rains, winds, sun and other bad weather elements. This installation project has given us interesting results in terms of our versatility.
So how did you find this year’s EIMA? How long has Arrigoni been attending EIMA?
Davide Daresta: Our attendance in EIMA started very long ago and this year we knew that it won’t be the EIMA we are all used to, but we have sent invitations to our customers and in turn have received a lot of positive feedback. So, I hope in the coming days they will be here to visit us and it is looking very positive.