‘Nothing can beat face-to-face contact’

The 21st market fair took place at our Veiling Holambra from the 14th until the 16th of April. Growers and customers come to this fair to strengthen their ties and do business. The fair is held twice a year. During the first six months of the year, growers are always focused on the distribution of their plants and flowers for Mother’s Day, which is the most important flower sales day in Brazil.

Unfortunately, the fair couldn’t take place in 2020. Both editions were cancelled due to Covid-19 last year. This year, everyone thought we could go back to having a physical fair. But the next wave of the virus came more rapidly than we’d anticipated. We had to change our plans and get ready for a virtual fair instead.

A challenge for everyone, and a dramatic change for the growers. They had to set up virtual stands, take pictures of their produce, make videos and prepare for virtual negotiations. It wasn’t easy for customers either. They’re also used to the physical fair. Adjusting to a virtual world can be difficult for people who aren’t used to it. The cooperative chose a platform that allowed growers and customers to communicate during the fair, plan meetings, and negotiate trade deals. They also launched a programme with sector-related talks to attract more customers.

As a grower, I found it an interesting experience. Different from what I was used to. I do believe the physical fair can’t be replaced altogether, though. It’s much easier to connect with customers at the physical fair. Nothing can beat face-to-face contact.

Having said that, the virtual edition was a great opportunity to introduce my plants to a large number of potential new customers. The enormous distances in Brazil make it impossible for some customers to visit the fair each year. So, all in all, a hybrid format offering both face-to-face and virtual opportunities to connect, would be ideal. It would enable us to reach the optimal number of customers and provide everyone with equal opportunities to sell their plants and flowers.

Jean Ferreira

Grower of pot plants, Brazil, Flora Beijo

Click here to read more blogs from Jean.

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