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Agriculture

World's largest agriculture show kicks off in Berlin

The world's biggest show for agriculture and horticulture has started in Berlin, with close to 70 nations participating. Organizers have said the event will focus on food safety, quality and price policies.

Marking its 78th anniversary, Berlin's international agriculture and horticulture show, also known as "Green Week," opened on Thursday in the presence of German Agriculture and Consumer Protection Minister Ilse Aigner.

The world's biggest display of agricultural produce from around the globe will have ten days to attract an expected 400,000 visitors keen to see and taste food items or learn about sector trends and services from over 1,600 exhibitors from 67 nations. Among them are newcomers Kosovo and Sudan.

The show is once again being accompanied by a broad range of specialist forums, debates and policy meetings to focus on issues ranging from food security and safety to global pricing policies.

Optimistic outlook

Agricultural experts said the "Green Week" was being held in a rather favorable business environment this year, with no major food scandals having rocked the world or Germany of late.

The president of the German farmers' Association, Joachim Rukwied, said in a statement that agricultural markets in Europe had seen a stable development in recent months. He mentioned that German agricultural produce had been at a premium abroad, with the domestic sector growth soaring by 4.1 percent in 2012 to a total of 170 billion euros ($226 billion) in revenues. He added that 31 percent of all produce was exported.

German Agriculture Minister Ilse Aigner said there was no reason to worry about exploding food prices in the country. "Although the hike in prices was higher than inflation in 2012, food prices continued to be much lower than those in most of our neighboring countries," Aigner told the newspaper Ruhr Nachrichten.

Consumer protection activists said they'd once again use the "Green Week" as a forum to push for better labeling systems for foodstuffs, criticizing that details about ingredients were often insufficient or deceptive.

hg/hc (dapd, dpa)