Expert opinion

BLOG: Pioneering in the East

I must admit – it was a bit of a gamble. When travelling out for the China Animal Husbandry Expo I was not sure what to expect. On the Web, there was hardly any English information to be found on the show. Would it be worth the while?

Most information I had received on the annual CAHE show was circumstantial. I had heard stories about it, had spoken with several companies going there and I had listened to the odd eye-witness account.

All said it was a show not to be missed. Strong inward focus on China – sure – but with a market of 1.3 billion souls China has potentially more pork eaters than the US and the European Union combined, so what does it matter anyway? Plenty of reasons to travel to Wuhan, at about 850 km west of Shanghai, where this year’s exhibition is held.

Earlier trips to China had already taught me that China is a country of economies of scale – even more so than the US.
Wuhan on Google Earth, however, looked deceptively pleasant, with a city centre built at both sides of a river, surrounded by lakes. The new showgrounds opened in 2011 right at the riverside.

Wuhan in practice turned out to be a 10 million soul metropolis consisting of three major cities amalgated together at both sides of the Yangtze, the world’s third largest river with a width of over 2 km here. Forget about riverside strolls. And by the way, the huge complex is not even finished as two adjacent skyscrapers are yet to be built.

This all set the stage for a visit that I would not have wanted to miss. Focus of CAHE is pig, poultry, cattle, goats, sheep, camels, foxes, rabbits – anything that is grown commercially for food production. The total number of exhibitors alone exceeds 1,400 – not as many as EuroTier, but the number is growing every year. International pavilions include the USA, UK, France, Denmark, Germany and the Netherlands.

With over 33,000 visitors on day 1 my colleague and I could just stare in amazement to the amounts of Chinese visitors crawling together waiting to get in.

It has felt like pioneering, these days – obtaining entrance cards, finding our way around and eventually speaking to the right people when everything, including maps, guides and staff only appeared to come in one language: Mandarin.
Time for me to translate all that I saw, heard and felt into proper English and open up the rapid developments at CAHE to the world outside China. That’s what I can do to pave the way East for others again...

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