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Visiting with an international purpose
TULARE — Opening day of the 2013 World Ag Expo saw thousands of visitors passing through the gates, many of them foreign nationals.
Wearing yellow and orange ribbons to identify them, they walked through the grounds, looking at products and equipment by the 1,500 plus exhibitors displaying the latest in farm equipment, chemicals, communications and technology on 2.6 million square feet of exhibit space.
Abidin Ozyoruk of Turkey was one of them.
“This is my first time to attend this thing,” Ozyoruk said. “We have an apple orchard and we want to see technique innovations we can use. It has been interesting.”
More than 70 countries are represented at the show, said Irene Santos, international chair who coordinates all of the international activities.
“There were more but that is how many registered,” Santos said. “The total count fluctuates but we have translators on the grounds, at the gates and here in the [International Business] Center.”
Visitors speaking limited English have access to volunteer translators who speak more than 35 languages and dialects, including American Sign Language.
In 2012, the three-day expo attracted 1,069 foreign nationals from 81 countries, she said, with the translators helping in making it simpler to get around the grounds.
“This is my first time attending this show. I’m very impressed,” said Guadalupe Almanza, president of Chiles Supremos San Pablo Meoqui of Chihuahua, Mexico on Tuesday. “I’m here trying to see about exporting our chiles. We want to expand our business. That is why I am here but I am also enjoying walking around and seeing everything that is offered.”
Almanza browsed through Building C — the Expo’s new, 60,000 square foot building where hundreds of exhibitors — American and international — showcased products.
Among them was Marc Hjerpe with Triens, a Japanese company with bases in Japan, Europe, China, and in Tempe, Ariz.
“We’re introducing our new hand-crank series which is ideal for this industry,” Hjerpe said. “We have heard a lot of good things about this show and we’ve had some great response. We’ve talked to several manufacturers about incorporating our product into their product.”
In another aisle, Aleksander Egorov, chief executive officer of Natural Resources, a Russian-based company, also talked with visitors stopping by his booth.
“We offer fertilizer,” Egorov said, adding that friends from India recommended they exhibit at the show. “We’re here to look for business partners to help sell it and to introduce the fertilizer here.”
With the help of a translator, Karina Elovskaya, Egorov talked about satisfied farmers.
“We’ve held a lot of tests and the results are amazing — 20 and even up to 70 percent improvement. We have a lot of satisfied farmers,” Elovskaya said.
The national representation did not stop. Representatives from FarmScan AG of Queensland, Australia talked to people about precision farming equipment; Israeli Udi Sosnik talked to people about Pet Tiger, a complete payroll tracking system; and Randy Killon talked about Zenport Industries, a Taiwan company with an Oregon base, that manufactures and distributes horticulture supplies.
“It’s popular and pretty steady here. A lot of people like the pruners,” Killon said. “Most people I talk to are already users of our products but I’ve found three new people interested in covering our products, one of them in this local area — and all of it before noon. That’s not a bad day.”
World Ag Expo continues today and Thursday. Gates are open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. today and 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Thursday. Admission is $12.
Contact Esther Avila at 784-5000, Ext. 1045. Follow her on Twitter @Avila_recorder.