Farm tour

Published: Wednesday 15 September 2004
Here's an exhibition that doesn't need to close its gates or limit the number of visitors. The show at is open round the clock and millions of people have visited it; 8,635,346, actually, from 128 countries. But if the small farmer of a developing country is your concern, give this site a miss. The exhibition is for rich, successful agribusiness companies, who have paid at least US $1,500 to be here. The exhibition features 95 agri-business companies from 14 countries (mostly from the industrialised world).

The virtual exhibits include 'kiosks' on irrigation, fertilisers, insecticides, greenhouse cultivation, organic agriculture, seeds and several other products and services. The exhibition offers agri-businesses "sophisticated communication with potential customers".

There are exhibitors presenting products and chatting with visitors. There is software that enables you to e-attend seminars. You can take a tour of the exhibition; arrange a meeting with a company's officials or even join an auction. Visitors who just want to look around can take the demo tour, where they can talk to an Israeli company manufacturing cowshed products -- in fact, the Israeli presence is overwhelming -- or a US-based company making greenhouses. But if you are a business traveller, the fee is US $15.

Caution: the site is design-heavy and a good Internet connection helps. The show will close on October 15.

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