Messrs Jordi Hereu and Àngel Ros, mayors of Barcelona and Lleida respectively, met at Mercabarna on 3 February to sign an agreement that will see Mercabarna and the Lleida Agrofood Science and Technology Park (PCiTAL) join forces in order to boost and promote the management and development of the food sector.
A mixed commission will emerge from the signing of the agreement, with members drawn from PCiTAL, renowned as an agrofood innovation hub in Catalonia, and Mercabarna, consolidated as the largest food business cluster in the country and a cornerstone of fresh food preparation, marketing and distribution. The commission will establish the mechanisms to make the most of Lleida and Mercabarna’s agrofood sector potential and to promote collaboration between businesses with common interests in order to provide solutions to today’s customer requirements.
Shoring up business competition
Such collaboration will particularly strengthen research and development in the agrofood area, shoring up sector business competitiveness. At the event, the two mayors stressed that the food sector is not just one of the driving forces of the national economy but also a fundamental part of our society and culture and a superb tool for projecting Catalonia’s image.
Mr Hereu defined Mercabarna as “the permanent market of markets” and “a major fresh-food logistics and processing platform”. Mr Ros welcomed the agreement for linking “production capacity, research and innovation in Lleida with all of the logistics, marketing and distribution activities that Mercabarna does so well”.
The PCiTAL Agrofood Innovation Hub
The Lleida Agrofood Science and Technology Park (PCiTAL) is a platform developed on seven hectares in Lleida that provides the food sector with know-how, technology and top-quality facilities to foster the creation and growth of innovating enterprises and to provide added value services. It furthermore promotes research, innovation and technological development in joint projects with universities and businesses.
Barcelona and Lleida: Working together
Jordi Hereu and Àngel Ros also took advantage of the meeting at Mercabarna to sign a more extensive collaboration agreement between their cities, which should serve to strengthen territorial cooperation relations regarding economic promotion between Lleida and the Catalan capital, fostering trade development, economic cooperation and investment.
Mr Hereu remarked, “The effects of Barcelona’s market-generation capacity will be felt in many areas because of this collaboration.”
The mayors, accompanied by Mercabarna chair Jordi William Carnes, the market managers and the chairs of the different trade associations, visited the Central Fruit and Vegetable Market prior to the signing of the agreements.