Geert Wilms, Director LIB/ZLTO Netherlands: key messages from ABF 2019

1. You have experienced AgriBusiness Forum for two consecutive years. What did you notice in terms of events’ development also about its main topic “The future of agriculture in the digital era”?

  • AgriBusiness Forum has undergone a major development within 1 year. The discussions and presentations have been deeper and broader. The interaction with the audience was also more interesting.
  • Furthermore it had better balance between farmers, businesses, government and knowledge institutions.
  • AgriBusiness Forum main topic remains a very important issue for farming and agribusiness sector in the world during the coming decade.

2. During your presentation you showcased various examples of innovative and digital farming from The Netherlands. How important is the adoption of digital technologies, research and innovation in farming sector and what do you think Greek farmers should do towards this direction?

  • Farmers have to delve into the matter themselves and decide how to implement such options into their companies, also to determine whether they want to lead the way or whether they want to get just behind the forerunners.
  • No doubt there are numerous application and opportunities for both large and small companies. It is therefore important to make the right choices. And to do that, it is smart to work together with other companies and with independent knowledge institutes.

3. Various speakers focused on the gap between research in the lab and actual adoption of knowledge and innovation in Greek farms. Professor Karantininis from Upsala-Sweden stated that the lack of a national advisory system in Greek agriculture is among the main factors of this problem. Do you agree with this opinion?

  • The gap between research in the lab and actual acceptance of knowledge and innovation on farms remains a constant point of attention.
  • Dutch sector has gained great benefits and development because of a national agricultural system formed by our government few decades ago.
  • Such system incorporated research, academia, groups of farmers and businesses, so that Netherlands to be a pioneer in the agribusiness world.

Short discussion with Mr. Antonis Addronikakis, Journalist, Ypaithros Hora


UBS unveils Year Ahead outlook for 2020 and a ‘decade of transformation’

Amid policy uncertainty, core recommendations include quality and dividend-paying stocks, while emerging industry standards should make sustainable investing even more approachable for investors in coming years

CEEMEA: Trade tensions and a more challenging energy market remain major risks but progress has been made in competitiveness.

Greece: The country has continued to deliver on its fiscal adjustment plan but uncertainties remain

Stark political choices make the 2020 outlook more difficult to predict, but innovation driven by technology and sustainability will present new winners and losers over the decade ahead, according to UBS Global Wealth Management (GWM)’s new Year Ahead outlook.

UBS GWM’s core recommendations for the year are:

  • quality and dividend-paying stocks, as well as domestic and consumer-focused firms that are less exposed to trade and business spending;
  • a middle-of-the-road approach to bonds, given very low yields on the safest debt and rising credit risks among high-yield issuers;
  • a preference for: precious metals over cyclical commodities; a combination of safe and high-yielding currencies; for low sensitivity to market movements within alternative investments.

Mark Haefele, Chief Investment Officer at UBS Global Wealth Management, said: “Elections, trade tensions and a shifting monetary and fiscal policy mix are likely to define a ‘year of choices’ in 2020. However, investors should also look beyond the next 12 months to a ‘decade of transformation’ where new winners and losers could change how investors allocate capital.”

Ali Janoudi, Head Central and Eastern Europe, the Middle East and Africa at UBS Global Wealth Management, said: “The impact of trade tensions on investment, the slowdown in the Eurozone, and a more challenging backdrop for the energy market remain major risks particularly for Central and Eastern Europe, and oil-driven economies in the larger region. However, on the upside, the scores of CEEMEA countries in global competitiveness and ease-of-doing-business rankings reveal that much progress has been made in recent years, even though more work needs to be done to attract and maintain human talent and capital.”

On the prospects for Greece, Fredy Schwalm, Market Head Greece & Cyprus, UBS Global Wealth Management, said: “Greece has continued to deliver on its fiscal adjustment plan, and the recent election has delivered a government that appears to be cooperating with external creditors and is committed to prudent policies. We remain cautious in our outlook for the coming year.”

Over the 2020s, investors will also face a world transformed. Some 790 million people will move to cities. Work-forces will shrink by 25 million in the developed world and grow by 470 million in the emerging world. The number of internet users will rise from 4.3 billion to 7.5 billion.

Sustainability and technology challenges related to these and other factors present opportunities, according to the report. Overall, the top longer-term investment themes highlighted in the Year Ahead report are digital transformation, genetic therapies, and water scarcity.

Furthermore, as 2020 approaches, investors are rallying around global standards that will make sustainable investments in particular more approachable for clients. These include the International Finance Corporation’s Operating Principles for Impact Management, as well as the International Institute for Finance’s efforts to simplify sustainable investing terminology. The latter are supported by both the world’s largest global wealth manager, UBS, and the world’s largest asset manager, BlackRock.

Economic outlook

In UBS GWM’s base case, the global economy will grow 3% in 2020, down slightly from 3.1% in 2019, according to the report. Developed market growth will decelerate from 1.6% to 1.1%, while emerging market growth will accelerate from 4.2% to 4.6%. However, two-way uncertainty is high, driven by choices in geopolitics and policy-making, as well as at the ballot box. The world will also probably keep a lid on inflation, with global inflation decreasing from 3% to 2.9%. The yield on 10-year US Treasuries will decline to 1.8% by the end of 2020, while Brent crude oil prices will decline to USD 60 a barrel. In its base case for 2020, UBS GWM forecasts growth of:

Country 2019 2020
US 2,2% 1,1%
Brazil 0,9% 2,5%
Germany 0,5% 0,6%
France 1,3% 1,0%
Italy 0,2% 0,4%
Spain 2,0% 1,7%
UK 1,2% 0,9%
Switzerland 0,7% 0,9%
Russia 1,0% 1,8%
China 6,1% 5,7%
Japan 0,5% 0,6%
India 5,9% 6,5%


Zurich, 20 November 2019

UBS Group AG and UBS AG

UBS Investor Watch – November 2019

Wealthy investors are cautious on 2020 but optimistic on the decade ahead, UBS Investor Watch survey finds. More than 80% of respondents are interested in aligning their portfolios with long-term mega-trends.

High net worth individuals globally have a guarded outlook for next year but are upbeat on prospects for the 2020s, UBS Global Wealth Management’s new Investor Watch survey shows.

According to the survey, which polled more than 3,400 wealthy investors in 13 markets, 79% of respondents said markets are moving towards a period of higher volatility. Seventy-two percent characterized the investment environment as more challenging than five years ago. Sixty-six percent said markets are driven more by geopolitics than by fundamentals. The US-China trade conflict attracted the most concern, on 44% of respondents, with domestic politics on 41% and the US election in 2020 on 37%.

Overall, wealthy investors still hold 25% of their portfolios in cash, far higher than UBS’s recommendations, with 60% saying they would consider increasing that level further.

However, despite their reservations on 2020, 69% of respondents said they were still optimistic on investment returns over the decade ahead. Eighty-eight percent expressed interest in aligning their portfolios with anticipated investment mega-trends – in line with UBS’s thematic Longer-Term Investment offering. The aging population was most often identified as a mega-trend, by 87% of respondents. Eighty-two percent also expressed interest in sustainable investing and 45% said they already held sustainable investments.

This positive attitude towards longer-term and sustainable investing was most in evidence among young and millennial investors aged 18-34. Eighty-four percent said they were highly interested in aligning their portfolios with mega-trends and 83% expressed interest in sustainable investing, compared with 30% of those aged 51 or older in both instances.

Paula Polito, Client Strategy Officer at UBS Global Wealth Management, says: “The rapidly changing geopolitical environment is the biggest concern for investors around the world. They see global inter-connectivity and reverberations of change impacting their portfolios more than traditional business fundamentals, a marked change from the past.”



Of the top concerns they face in 2020, a lower proportion of US investors plan to or would consider discussing the presidential election’s impact with an advisor than in any other major region, at 78% versus a global average of 82%. However, a greater proportion (45%) expressed concern about a US-China trade conflict than the average globally (44%) or indeed in mainland China (30%). On a longer-term View, US investors were also least likely to be interested in aligning their portfolios with mega-trends (82%) or in sustainable investing (70%), relative to the other major regions (LatAm, Asia, and Europe, Middle East, and Africa).


Latin America

Investors in LatAm were both more cautious in the near term and more optimistic on longer-term trends than in any other major region. Eighty-one percent saw markets moving toward a period of higher volatility, and 64% were concerned about the US-China trade conflict. Yet, 83% were optimistic about returns over the decade ahead, 97% wanted to align their portfolios with anticipated trends, 96% were interested in sustainable investing, and 69% already held sustainable investments.


Europe, Middle East, and Africa (EMEA)

Investors in the region ranked in the middle of the pack, both in terms of their caution on 2020 and their interest in aligning with longer-term trends. However, a greater proportion expressed optimism on returns over the decade ahead (72% versus a 69% global average). Also 88% expressed interest in sustainable investing (versus an 82% average) and 50% already hold sustainable investments (versus a 45% average).



Swiss investors expressed optimism on the longer-term outlook but more cautiously than in most of the major regions. Eighty-four percent said markets are moving towards higher volatility, while 46% expressed concern over the US-China trade conflict, both higher than the EMEA average. And 67% were optimistic on returns over the next 10 years, with 85% wishing to align portfolios with anticipated trends – high readings but more reserved than the averages for the rest of EMEA.



Asian investors were less concerned about shorter-term market dynamics but also less unguardedly optimistic on the decade ahead than other geography surveyed. Seventy-six percent of respondents saw markets moving toward higher volatility and 40% were concerned about US-China trade tensions, both the lowest of any major region. However, 65% were optimistic about long-term returns – also the lowest – although 91% still wanted to align their portfolios with long-term trends. Interest in sustainable investing was also high, at 86% of respondents, with 55% already holding sustainable investments in their portfolios.


About the UBS Investor Watch survey

UBS Global Wealth Management surveyed more than 3,400 investors with a minimum net worth of USD 1 million across 13 markets: Brazil, China, Germany, Hong Kong, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Singapore, Switzerland, Taiwan, UAE, UK and US. The survey was conducted between August and October 2019.


Zurich, 12 November 2019

UBS Group AG and UBS AG

AgriBusiness Forum 2019 – Delegate’s appreciation letter









Athens, November 13, 2019


Dear AgriBusiness Forum 2019 esteemed delegates

This is to express our sincere thanks for your participation to the 2nd international conference on agrotechnology, AgriBusiness Forum that held in Serres-Greece 1-2/11/2019, under the topic “The future of agrifood systems in the digital era”.

We are glad that this year’s forum has gathered more than 370 delegates and 48 leading speakers from academia, businesses and the institutional world who analyzed trends, identified challenges, pointed opportunities and highlighted innovation for the modernization and digital transformation of the production, processing and distribution of high added value agrifood products in Greece and beyond.

AgriBusiness Forum 2019 was also rich in parallel activities, namely the 4 Masterclasses on entrepreneurship delivered by American Farm School, HAO-Demeter, LASCM and the Institute of Agronomic Sciences, the Challenge on Innovation, the field visit at Lake Kerkini to showcase the future of water-buffalos in Greece, as well as numerous networking opportunities throughout the event.

AgriBusiness Forum, agro-technology premier event, focuses on boosting knowledge to early stage agrifood scaleups, advancing innovation for the modernization & digital transformation of the agrifood value chain from seed to fork and promoting synergies for the benefit of the near-future agriculture in Greece and beyond.

What AgriBusiness Forum will bring forward on 2020?

  1. The 3rd International AgriBusiness Forum in Greece 6-7 November 2020, with the participation of UN agencies (FAO, UN Women) and the Organization of the Black Sea Economic Cooperation (BSEC)
  2. The 1st Regional AgriBusiness Forum in Istanbul (mid-September), with the participation of the 12 member States of the BSEC from the Balkans and the Black Sea region
  3. A Pan-Hellenic Conference on agritourism
  4. A Pan-Hellenic Conference on meat value chain
  5. Two exciting networking & learning AgriFood Traction Tours to the Netherlands (June & August 2020) – worlds’ leading agrifood producer- to provide knowledge and output assessment in Dutch agriculture, horticulture, food technology and deal flows.

 In the coming days, please allow us to revert back to you in order to provide you:

  • AgriBusiness Forum 2019 Press Release
  • The links of photo material and speakers’ presentations
  • AgriBusiness Forum 2019 conference reports (provided by ICBSS)
  • AgriBusiness Forum 2019 speakers’ videos

Also to remind you that AgriBusiness Forum social media channels (Facebook and Twitter) provide timely information, latest news and updates about current and future developments.

Looking forward to seeing you soon aboard AgriBusiness Forum future events,


Christina D. Mangou

Organizing Committee AgriBusiness Forum

Geo Routes Cultural Institute