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Chilean truckers’ union chief issues warning as strike comes to end

Chilean truckers’ union chief issues warning as strike comes to end: José Villagrán, president of the Federacion de Camioneros del Sur (Fedesur) © MULTIGREMIAL DE LA ARAUCANÍA
José Villagrán, president of the Federacion de Camioneros del Sur (Fedesur) /// © MULTIGREMIAL DE LA ARAUCANÍA


Chile’s agri-food exporters welcomed the announcement on Wednesday that the truckers were lifting their seven-day national strike, which had jeopardised exports. However, there is still a threat hanging over the sector, following an ominous warning from the leader of the union representing southern truckers: “We will be attentive that what we have agreed is fulfilled. If it is not fulfilled, we will return to the roads,” said Jose Villagran, president of the Federacion de Camioneros del Sur (Fedesur), according to Diario Financeiro. 



The protest was called to pressure the Chilean government into to speeding up approval of a series of laws to protect trucks from attacks by indigenous groups unhappy about the perceived overdevelopment of certain regions. 

To get around the strike, some suppliers from Chile’s Magallanes region diverted trucks across the Argentine border and put products on cargo flights from the capital Buenos Aires.

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DiMuto Joins International Pineapple Organization (IPO) as Trade Technology Partner

DiMuto Joins International Pineapple Organization (IPO) as Trade Technology Partner
DiMuto 4T Suite Solution /// Source: Press Release


DiMuto, a tech-based trade solutions platform, is now the official Trade Technology Partner for International Pineapple Organization, a global trade organization. The new partnership will see DiMuto providing support to IPO members to digitalize their produce and supply chains while strengthening the IPO’s presence in Southeast Asia.


Singapore, 15 April 2020 – DiMuto, a trade tech solutions platform that provides end-to-end supply chain visibility for global agri-food businesses, has joined the International Pineapple Organization (IPO) as an official Trade Technology Partner. The new collaboration will see DiMuto providing support to the global pineapple association not only through its trade technology solutions, but also for R&D and marketing efforts.

The IPO is a Global Trade Organization of pineapple growers from pineapple growing regions around the world, maximize efficiency and profit for the pineapple industry through identifying common needs in Buying, Marketing, Cost Savings, and Consulting. With active presence in Latin America as well as the US, the cooperative’s mission is to identify common needs among its members and leverage the group to maximize efficiencies and economies of scale.

According to market research by Tridge, 28.3 million metric tonnes of pineapples were produced in 2018, and the export of fresh pineapples was valued at US$2.1 billion, increasing by 11% from 2014 to 2018. The top pineapple exporting markets are tropical countries such as Costa Rica, Brazil, Philippines, Indonesia and Thailand. A 2018 FreshPlaza reports that global consumption of pineapples continues to grow with the largest growth markets in Asia such as China, Indonesia, Vietnam and Philippines.

Under the partnership with IPO, DiMuto will be working with members to support the digitalization of their pineapple supply chains, as well as help strengthen the presence of IPO in the Southeast Asia region, in particular pineapple exporting markets such as Thailand, Indonesia and Philippines.

Using the DiMuto 4T Suite Solution, a 4-part trade technology solution combining blockchain, AI and IoT, DiMuto digitalizes the agri-food supply chain for data visibility and trade transparency, aiming to solve the industry’s various challenges such as food waste, food safety and food sustainability.

The DiMuto 4T Suite Solution creates traceability for every single fruit as they move through the supply chain by capturing important data at key supply chain stages. Individual products and cartons are tagged with DiMuto QR codes to assign each one a digital identity. These products and cartons are then digitalized through DiMuto’s proprietary Digital Asset Creation devices (DACky). Buyers can then use the DiMuto Receiver App to acknowledge the receipt of goods and provide feedback, all recorded on the DiMuto Platform to truly close the supply chain loop on one single platform. With the visibility provided by data captured as the product moves through the supply chain, DiMuto helps to reduce disputes over quality and creating trust amongst trade parties.

“IPO is always on the lookout for technology and solutions that would benefit our pineapple growers. I have every confidence that DiMuto’s technology will help create supply chain visibility for our members from around the world and help them grow their international presence,” said William Cavan, Executive Director of IPO.

“We are thrilled to have the support of International Pineapple Organization as we strengthen our presence in the produce industry. With our technology, IPO growers will be able to show buyers the high quality of their pineapples for every single carton before it is shipped. This creates trust and reduces uncertainty amidst the disruptions brought on by COVID-19,” said Gary Loh, Founder and Chief Executive Officer of DiMuto.

This partnership comes hot on the heels of DiMuto’s latest investment from Latin Leap, a Venture Capital Studio focusing on opening up opportunities in Latin America for outheast Asian tech-scale ups. To date, DiMuto has tagged over 30 million fruits and tracked and traced over US$100million worth of agrifood trades. With presence in 7 countries including US, China, Indonesia, Australia and Mexico, the partnership with IPO will strengthen DiMuto’s international footprint in the global fresh produce industry.

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EU Commission “ready to continue supporting EU’s agri-food sector”

EU Commission “ready to continue supporting EU's agri-food sector”, © EU Agriculture
© EU Agriculture? (@EUAgri)


The EU Commission has announced its preparedness to back the region’s agri-food sector. In a statement, the commission said: “The EU’s agri-food sector has showed is showing its resilience and continues to provide Europeans with high quality and safe food. Nonetheless, farmers and producers are facing difficulties and increasing pressure. Ensuring food security and an effective food supply chain across the continent remains one of the Commission’s priorities.”

The Commission keeps monitoring closely all agricultural markets and trade of food products, with the EU market observatories being regularly updated. In a meeting to review the ongoing situation, commissioner Wojciechowski said: ”We are facing an unprecedented crisis and I am ever more grateful to our farmers and producers for their continuous hard work, despite the increasing difficulties and pressure. These challenging times have shown the resilience of our food supply chain. Today’s meeting allowed us to have an overview of this fast changing situation. I listened carefully and took good note of all the suggestions and requests that the Commission will now analyse and reply to. I will continue to follow the situation in close contact with Member States. We are ready to take further action when necessary.”

Since the beginning of the crisis the following measures have been adopted by the Commission to support the agri-food sector:

  • Extension of the deadline for CAP payment applications: The new deadline for applications will now be 15 June 2020, instead of 15 May, allowing more flexibility for farmers to fill in their applications in these difficult and unparalleled times. The extension has already been communicated for Italy and the Commission is working on the legal steps to implement it for all Member States.
  • Increased state aid: Under the newly adopted Temporary Framework for state aid, farmers can now benefit from a maximum aid of €100,000 per farm and food processing and marketing companies can benefit from a maximum of €800,000. This amount can be topped up by de minimis aid, a type of national support specific to the agricultural sector that can be granted without prior approval from the Commission. Recently the ceiling of this aid was increased to €20,000 (and up to €25,000 in specific cases). This means that the total national support that can be granted per farm adds up to €120,000 (or €125,000) under the temporary framework.
  • Continuous flow of food products across the EU: the Commission is coordinating closely with Member States to ensure a functioning single market for goods by creating “Green Lanes”. These green lanes, based on designated key border crossing-points, will have border crossing checks that will not exceed 15 minutes. Passage is now granted for all goods, including agri-food products.
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European Commission to invest over €200 million in promoting community’s agri-food

European Commission to invest over €200 million in promoting community’s agri-food


The European Commission has allocated €200.9 million in 2020 to fund promotional activities for EU agri-food products at home and abroad. The 2020 promotion policy work programme adopted by the Commission outlines the main priorities for support. EU policy on the promotion of agri-food products is designed to help the sector take advantage of the expanding and increasingly dynamic global agri-food market, raise awareness on quality schemes including organic produce and help producers should they face market disturbances.

Agriculture and rural development Commissioner Phil Hogan said: “Europe’s reputation in the world for agri-food products is unparalleled. The EU is not the top world agri-food exporter by accident. Our promotion policy with an ever-increased budget supports EU producers in making their products known both in the EU and outside but also in facing market difficulties by raising more awareness on their produce. The trade agreements in place also create the conditions to increase their exports to high-growing markets. The recent conclusion of the EU-China bilateral agreement on geographical indications is yet another example of the Commission’s work to create opportunities for producers and high-quality EU products.”

In 2020, more than half of the budget (€118 million) will go towards campaigns pursuing markets outside the EU with high-growth potential, such as Canada, China, Japan, Korea, Mexico and the United States. Eligible sectors include dairy and cheese, table olives and olive oil and wines. The selected campaigns are expected to enhance the competitiveness and consumption of EU agri-food products, raise their profile and increase their market share in these targeted countries.

Campaigns will also inform EU and global consumers of the various EU quality schemes and labels such as geographical indications or organic products. An additional focus of the campaigns will also be to highlight the high safety and quality standards, as well as the diversity and traditional aspects of EU agri-food products. Finally, within the EU, the focus will be on promoting healthy eating and increase, in the framework of balanced diets, the consumption of fresh fruits and vegetables.

The calls for proposals for the upcoming 2020 campaigns will be published in January 2020. A wide range of bodies, such as trade organisations, producer organisations and agri-food groups responsible for promotion activities are eligible to apply for funding and submit their proposals.

So-called ‘simple’ programmes can be submitted by one or more organisations from the same EU country; the ‘multi’ programmes come from at least two national organisations from at least two member states, or from one or more European organisations. For 2020, €100 million is allocated to simple programmes, while €91.4 million will go towards multi-programmes. An additional €9.5 million is set aside for the Commission’s own initiatives. Those include participation in fairs and communication campaigns, as well as diplomatic offensives led by the agriculture and rural development European Commissioner and accompanied by a business delegation. These initiatives will be further reinforced by an additional €17,2 million available from the 2019 multi-promotion programmes. This represents additional support for cheeses and butter, olive oil and table olives in a challenging global market.


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EU agri-food trade balance strengthens

EU agri-food trade balance strengthens

EU agri-food exports remain strong, with the March 2019 level matching the record level of March 2017 (€12.6 billion) or 7% higher than in March 2018, according to data from the European Commission. Meanwhile, agri-food imports in March totalled €10.1 billion (1.9% up from March 2018). The greatest increases in monthly export values in the past year were recorded for China (+€125 million), the US (+€119 million) and Egypt (+€103 million). The largest falls in exports were to Saudi Arabia (-€96 million) and South Korea (-€24 million).

As for the EU’s agri-food imports, compared to March 2018, there were significant rises in the values arriving from the US (+€138 million), Ukraine (+€87 million) and Ghana (+€48 million). The largest drops were recorded for imports from Argentina (-€72 million), Canada (-€53 million) and New Zealand (-€39 million).

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Murcia’s agri-food business up 22.3% in five years

Murcia’s agri-food business up 22.3% in five years

Agri-food exports from Murcia now get to 165 countries on five continents. According to the latest collected data, 75% of exports were destined to the European Union, simultaneously, they have been increased and diversified, with regard to the number of destination countries.

It is noteworthy that the agri-food component of the Murcia trade balance has turned positive over the last five years, shifting from €2.4 billion in 2013 to €3.2 billion in 2017. The increasing evolution of the trade balance has been due to a sustained growth of the agri-food exports, which reached €4.8 billion in 2017. This figure represents a 22.3% increase in the last five years.

The destination of the Murcian agri-food exports is essentially the European market. Nevertheless, in the case of agri-food products, the concentration of exports in these markets might be a handicap to overcome, since perishable products are subject to demanding sanitary controls and they greatly depend on the available logistics. Thus, the fruit and vegetable sector in the region of Murcia, supported by the regional authority, is working to enlarge the export destinations. In such a way, the intention is to confront the incidences in traditional destinations that, due to political-related issues, are leading to waste certain market shares. Notable among these incidences are the decline of the Russian market and the potential effects of Brexit on exports in the region of Murcia, that might be lower due to trade openness of markets that have been closed up to now. In this sense, the aim is to consolidate the Chinese market, following the agreements on stone fruit and table grape.

Furthermore, tariffs reduction on artichokes and processed peppers carried out by the United States, will benefit the Murcian production.

In addition, the sector is demanding to include actions in India, Nigeria, South Africa and the east cost of the United States, in order to expand export markets. All this along with maintaining markets in Europe and other areas in the world, such as Middle East, that have been consolidated through different foreign promotion actions.


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EU agri-food trade sets new record in 2017

EU agri food

The EU confirmed its position as the world’s largest importer and exporter of agro-food goods in 2017 by reaching new heights. Exports of €138 billion combined with imports worth €117 billion, to set a new record of €255 billion. Experts believe the competitiveness of the region’s producers is down to their reputation as being safe, sustainably produced, nutritious and of high quality. Trade agreements have recently been put into place with Canada, Japan and Mexico. 

The world’s five largest agri-food exporters (the EU, the US, Brazil, China, Canada) all posted higher export values in 2017, with an average increase of 4.3%. Meanwhile, agri-food imports of the world’s top five importers (the EU, the US, China, Japan, Canada) recorded an average rise of 5.3%.

EU exports were up to all of its main partners. Even exports to Russia increased for the first time since 2013 thanks to products not subject to the embargo. In terms of its imports, the EU’s sources have diversified over recent years. The most imported products in terms of value were tropical fruits, with a further rise recorded in 2017.

Despite the positive results, the future of the sector’s trade is far from certain due to the prospect of trade barriers going up and the UK’s exit from the EU. Nevertheless, with global population continuing to increase and changing consumer trends, the EU’s operators are well positioned to benefit.


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Europe’s agri-food exports rose 5.1% to €137.9 billion in 2017


The EU’s trade commission has published a report detailing the 5.1% rise in the community’s agri-food exports in 2017. The markets which recorded the highest growth were the US (+6%), Russia (+16%) and Asia, particularly Japan (+11%), China (+5%), Hong Kong (+10%) and South Korea (+13%). The best performing sectors were wine, pet food and spirits, while cereals and pig meat exports fell.

Meanwhile, EU agri-food imports also grew but not by as much as exports, leaving a positive agri-food products trade balance surplus of €20.5 billion.

Picture: EU agri-foods trade balance for 2017

Source: COMEXT

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EU agri-food trade surplus continues to grow in February

EU agrifood

While the value of EU agri-food exports dipped slightly in February 2018 to just below €10.5 billion, the decline in imports was sharper, falling to €8.7 billion. This increased the trade surplus to €1.7 billion from €1.3 billion in February 2017.

The greatest falls in monthly exports over the past year were for the US (-€60 million), South Africa (-€41 million), the UAE (-€40 million) and Switzerland (-€39 million). The greatest increases in import value over the same period were recorded for Turkey (+€63 million), Brazil (+€19 million) and Singapore (+€19 million). The sectors which saw the greatest falls in export value were vegetables (-€56 million) and vegetable oils (-€51 million). The sectors that saw the greatest growth in export value were sugar (+€60 million) and wine and vermouth (+€44 million).

The greatest decline in value over the past year was seen in agri-food imports arriving from the US, Brazil and Indonesia, while the highest growth was seen in imports from Malaysia and Tunisia. In particular, there were large falls in imports of cocoa beans and vegetables, while imports of olive oil and fatty acids increased the most.