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Argentina to export citrus to India and Vietnam

Argentina to export citrus to India and Vietnam

The Indian and Vietnamese markets have opened to Argentine lemons, although phytosanitary protocols still need to be settled before exports can begin at the end of the 2019 campaign. Argentina is working on lowering the tariffs required by India, which currently stand at 30%. As a result of this tariff, India will not immediately become an important market, but in the long-term, given its enormous population, Argentina spies great prospects on the subcontinent. For now, Indians are not used to consuming yellow lemon, but rather a kind of lime, similar to the Tahiti lime. Therefore, as consumer trends change, the prospects for Argentina’s lemons will improve. Meanwhile, Vietnam has lower tariffs and more established consumption patterns.


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Argentina expects higher lemon volumes in 2018/19

Argentina expects higher lemon volumes in 2018/19

Argentina’s fresh lemon crop is expected to recover in 2018/19 and reach 1.6 million tons, up from 1.5 million, due to good weather conditions during the season. Genova and Eureka are the main lemon varieties grown in Argentina. Lemon exports are set to increase to 290,000 tons, After regaining market access in 2017, Argentina exported 10,640 tons of fresh lemons to the US in 2018, with exports in 2019 expected to continue an upward trend.

However, orange output is predicted to fall to 500,000 tons and tangerine volumes will drop to 280,000 tons, due to falling competitiveness on the world markets and the trees are expected to cycle through a lighter fruit blossom. Orange and tangerine exports will decrease to 50,000 tons and 30,000 tons, respectively.


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Argentine cherries land in China

Argentine cherries land in China

On January 8, 2019, the first shipment of 160 tons of Argentine cherries was shipped to the Asian giant. In 2017, China imported US$771 million of cherries, representing 31% of the total volume of imports worldwide. Its main suppliers were Chile and US.

During the G20 summit in Buenos Aires, Argentina in November 2018, the governments of China and Argentina signed a series of bilateral agreements, which included the opening of the Chinese market for cherries. Adolfo Storni, president of Cerezas Argentinas, said, “It has been a season with positive and negative aspects. One positive aspect is that the international market has had good prices. As every year, Chile focuses its exports on China, and then leaves us the quality markets of the US, Canada and the EU. On the other hand, Argentina, specifically Río Negro and Neuquén, have had rains before and during the harvest which affected production, leading to an estimated drop in exports of 20% in 2019. Unfortunately, this has been happening quite often in recent years due to climate change. What’s more, tax policies imposed in Argentina led to an increase in costs and therefore much lower profitability than expected.” Regarding the opening of China, he stressed that this is a great achievement: “We are all aware of what this means. The potential for the development and growth of Argentina’s cherries is enormous. We will have to work hard to achieve the quality, calibre and colour standards that Chinese consumers want, but we understand that Argentina has an excellent product and, after a couple of years, we should be a more important player.” Argentina faces certain trade restrictions that put it at a disadvantage compared to its competitors when it comes to reaching international markets, such as the lack of Free Trade Agreements. Argentina’s cherries face levies of 12% to enter the EU and 10% to enter China. In contrast, Chile reaches both destinations with a 0% tariff.

The first export, of eight containers of fruit from establishments in Río Negro, Neuquén and Chubut, went by sea via the Pacific and was supervised by the Chinese phytosanitary technicians, who approved compliance with the agreed protocol. There is still the possibility of exporting by air and reaching the Asian markets before the end of the year where better prices are obtained. In March, another delegation of Chinese technicians will visit Argentina to make progress on that issue.

Cerezas Argentinas S.A. and Frutos de los Lagos make first shipments to China

Cerezas Argentinas SA, located in the area of ​​the Central Valley of Río Negro in Patagonia (fly-free region) is distinguished by its fruit’s sanitary standards, outstanding quality, excellent size, colour and sweetness. Together with other producers from the area, it has made one of the first official exports to China. “China is the main importer of cherries worldwide and the strengthening of our commercial relationship with this country will allow us to consider it our main market in the future,” said Adolfo Storni, president of the company. He also stressed: “This first export is the result of joint work between entities in the sector: SENASA, the Ministry of Production and Labour of the Nation, the Argentine Embassy in China, the Foreign Ministry, CAPCI, the producing provinces, national government entities and the private sector.” Cerezas Argentinas and Frutos de los Lagos packed one container each of the Sweetheart variety, a late variety with an excellent dark colour. The fruit is very firm, has a high sugar content, and very good conditions for travel in containers. Frutas de los Lagos has a plantation of 128 hectares strategically located in the productive valley of the department of Sarmiento, in the province of Chubut, surrounded by the natural resources of Argentine Patagonia, whose geoclimatic conditions are very favourable for organic agriculture. Storni said, “We are the only company certified organic in Argentina.” Frutos de los Lagos currently has a production capacity of close to one million kilos of fresh cherries, most of which are destined for export. It has its own packaging plant, equipped with Unitec machinery, from where 2.5kg and 5kg boxes are packed, with the possibility of dividing into individual bags for those markets that require it, such as the US.

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The IFAMA 2018 World Food and Agribusiness Management Conference will be held in Argentina

The event will take place from June 23 to 27 in Buenos Aires, where more than 100 national and international leaders from the public and private sectors will discuss the challenges facing food production and set goals for the year 2050.

The Center for Agribusiness and Food of the Austral University and IFAMA will together hold the World Conference on Agribusiness Management. The purpose of the event is to discuss the opportunities and challenges facing the global sector to ensure the production of healthy, accessible and sustainable food in sufficient quantities for future generations. Goals will be set for the year 2050.

“Argentina has the responsibility to exercise regional leadership in the development of the world’s agribusiness. As it takes place in Argentina, the IFAMA congress is a great opportunity, which will bring together the leading academics and decision makers of the private sector. It also offers the chance to connect with the government representatives who design the public policies that will ensure the integration of countries in a beneficial economic system to guarantee the quality and sustainability of food for all humanity. At the Austral University’s Center of Agribusiness and Food, our mission will be to position the country as a global leader in projects and initiatives focused on the development of food products with high added value. All of this is aimed at establishing ourselves as the ‘supermarket’ of the world,” said Ana Galiano, dean of the Austral University’s Faculty of Business Sciences and the only Argentine board member of IFAMA.

IFAMA’s main conclusions will be summarised in a final document to be delivered to the G20 leaders when they meet in Argentina. It will also constitute a starting point from which each country should assume its roles and responsibilities for the fulfilment of these goals.

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Argentine lemon exports to the US recommence


Argentina’s lemon exports to the United States have officially begun, with the first shipments expected to arrive in around 30 days. A spokesperson for the Argentine Northwest Citizens Association (ACNOA), which brings together the region’s fruit producers, packaging plants and industries, said, “Given that this is our first campaign exporting to the US after many years, export volumes will be moderate as it takes time and effort to develop commercial programmes.”

The requirements of the US market are stringent and require a lengthier process than Argentina’s producers are used to. After harvest, the fruit is conditioned in packing plants and the lemon undergoes a degreening process. After this, the lemons are chilled until the order arrives for them to be packed, go through customs procedures and phytosanitary export controls, and finally leave for their destination.

The majority of exports of Argentina’s lemons will enter the US through Philadelphia. Companies such as San Miguel already have several orders from US importers and retailers, and calculate the countries lemon exports to the US will amount to 15,000 tons this year. As Argentina exported 230,000 tons of lemons last year, the US market is very much seen as one for the future rather than the present. Argentina’s main competitors for the US market will be Mexico and Chile, from where the US currently imports 50,000 tons and 41,000 tons respectively.

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Fama to offer red Israeli mandarins

CITRICS argentina FAMA, Producers Owners_0

30 years after it was founded, Fama S.A. is now an established name in the production and export of fresh citrus fruits in Argentina. The company’s twenty joint owners are spread across three generations of fruit producers and are united behind the common goal of producing quality products. Today Fama owns 7,000 ha of citrus fruit production in Entre Rios y Corrientes, which is split 50-50 between oranges and mandarins. Varietal development has become something of a policy for the company, which it continues today with the development of the Orri and Muriel varieties. With yields reaching an impressive 2,000 tons, Fama is expecting further increases in the forthcoming years to as high as 5,000 tons. In 2016, the firm introduced five new red Israeli varieties to Argentina. For Fama, this will represent an entirely new line of red products that will be very different from the orange ones it currently produces. Commercial manager Alberto Lavino Zona said, “Fama continues to believe in quality. By aiming for the best possible levels of quality, clients and volumes will inevitably follow.” The firm is also working on minimising costs and  has recently installed a pre-selection machine in its packaging plant in order to raise efficiency levels and improve the quality of its final product. As Fama looks to enter new markets, it continues to strengthen relations with Canada, where, until last year, it only operated in the Toronto area, but has now extended its reach to include Vancouver as well. Lavino Zona said, “Consolidating ties with our clients will always remain our priority as good clients become good friends who you never want to lose.” Meanwhile, Fama is also seeking to develop new markets, such as the UAE and Southeast Asia.

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VII International Berries Congress to take place in August in Mexico

The 7th edition of the International Berries Congress will be held between 9th and 11th August 2017 at Expo Guadalajara. One thousand attendees are expected at an event which will bring new know-how and training, while showcasing the latest trends in varietal innovation and technology. Once again the congress will be coordinated by the National Exporters Association of Mexico (Aneberries). Over the course of these three days, attendees will be furnished with the latest information regarding the emerging markets, berry production technology, post-harvest handling, and TLCAN, as well as other subject areas related to exploring new approaches for Mexican and global agriculture.

Mexican berries ranked third in fresh produce exports

Mexican berries have been seeing constant growth and have today become Mexico’s third biggest income generator in agricultural exports, worth an average of US$1.6 million according to figures from the Economy Secretary in 2016. The Director General of Aneberries, Juan José Flores García, confirms this trend: “We are only below the numbers generated by tomatoes and avocados. We create over 210,000 decent jobs with social responsibility, and all on just 30,000 ha where the berries are grown, mainly in the states of Michoacán, Jalisco, Guanajuato, Colima, Baja California and others. The sector is expected to continue seeing solid growth thanks to the diversification of markets.”

Aneberries was founded in 2009 to bolster the Mexican berry industry into one united, organised and specialised association. It was also created to represent the common interests of a professional group so as to enable them to reach and maintain their utmost potential and prestige in an orderly, profitable and sustainable way. Currently, the 21 leading companies in the sector form part of its directory. Together, they account for 85% of the Mexican berry industry.


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Argentina in line for slight drop in orange, tangerine exports

Argentina's citrus exports will remain relatively stable at 280,000 MT for lemons, 55,000 MT for oranges, and 45,000 MT for tangerines in 2017.

Production of citrus fruit in Argentina next year is forecast to fall to 1.37 million tons for lemons, 650,000 tons for oranges, and 280,000 tons for tangerines, due to a late frost in September this year (for lemons) and excess rain, strong winds and hail (for oranges and tangerines), according to a new GAIN report.

Another factor in the lower volumes is the lack of profitability for local producers, it says.

However, Argentina’s citrus exports will remain relatively stable at 280,000 tons for lemons, but slightly lower than 2015 levels for oranges, at 55,000 tons, and for tangerines, at 45,000 tons.

They will nevertheless continue to be below historic levels “due to lack of competitiveness of Argentine exporters in international markets.”

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) is publishing a final rule to allow the importation of fresh lemon fruit from northwest Argentina into the continental United States. The rule has been sent to the Federal Register for publication on December 23, 2016, and will become effective 30 days after it is published.

Source: Argentina Citrus Annual, GAIN Report published 12/22/2016

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Seen at the 2016 IBO Summit

Some of the leading companies seen at the 6th edition of the the International Blueberry Organization (IBO) Summit, which took place in Concordia, Argentina, and in Salto, Uruguay, over September 20-22.

The sixth edition of the IBO Summit took place in Concordia, Argentina, and Salto, Uruguay, over September 20-22.

Organised by the International Blueberry Organization (IBO), the event attracted over 400 exhibitors and visitors from around the world.

Here is our snapshot of some of the leading companies present there.

Read more from edition 146 of Eurofresh Distribution magazine here.
Read more of our blueberry news here.

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All about blueberries in Latin America

All about blueberries in Latin America

Find out why Chile is in a leading position, how Argentina seeks to differentiate itself based on the taste of its blueberries, what is changing in terms of Mexico’s blueberry expertise, and more.

Peru establishes itself as major player in region

“Peru has been able to capitalise on its own knowhow in a relatively short time, but even when production volumes have been growing rapidly there are questions to be answered,” according to Pro Arándanos president Miguel Bentin. There are currently an estimated 2,400 ha planted, plus an additional 800 under way, which means 20,000 t are expected for the 2016 campaign. And by 2018, there will be double the area under cultivation, reaching at least 45,000 t of produce. While the Biloxi variety predominates, there is significant growth in Emerald, Spring High, Ventura and Snowchaser, among others.“We took the initiative to foster the creation of the association when the industry was very young, seeking to grow in an orderly way and generate genuine collaboration between the companies so there would be a transfer of knowledge. The main need is for an association to represent us in accessing markets and distributing the supply,” Bentín said. The main export market is the US, which takes up 54% of the total, followed by Holland, the UK and Hong Kong, with 83% of the volume shipped by sea. The Latin American countries complement each other, with each having its own place in the market, which is why it is very important to open up new markets, Bentín said.

Mexico grows along with its expertise

Mexico is a relatively young player which did not see the blueberry as a real option until seven years ago. It went through a learning process until it found varieties suited to its climate and learned to handle these cultivars, particularly in the area of pruning and bringing them to market. About three years ago, when the sector realised there was potential, various opportunities opened up for it. Today, Mexico has 4,500 ha planted, producing 15 million kg of fruit, and Driscoll’s vice president Mario Steta estimates this area could be doubled in five years. Undoubtedly, the profitability has been quite reasonable, although the average yield is not where it should be. Also, Mexico is creating a very wide season, achieving a total of 9 months’ supply by starting very early for the autumn window and ending very late in mid-spring. Among its strengths are that it supplies all four of the main berries, which gives it an advantage over other suppliers. And processing technology is bringing particularly strong benefits for one of those berries, the blueberry, and with that very good returns. As for the challenges, the main one is farm labour, which also links to the concept of social responsibility and the availability of suitable areas. Steta stressed that “genetic improvement in varieties must not only adapt to the environment and technology, but make it easier for workers in the field, a resource that is becoming increasingly scarce.”

Uruguayan blueberries ready to enter China

Uruguay has a very compact area in its north with few companies, but they’ve been adapting to the market’s needs in varieties and are now internationally recognised. “This year we expect 2,500 t of produce compared to last year’s 1,800 t. We think this will be a good season, despite the slow demand we seem to have now in our traditional markets, such as the US and Europe,” said Marta Bentancur, Upefruy’s head of international development. Uruguayan blueberries already reach the US and Canada, and major countries in Europe, but the big news is that very soon they may also enter China. “Recently we were visited by the Chinese sanitary delegation and they were fully satisfacted with our processes, quality and infraestructure,” Bentancur said. Uruguay will host the China-LAC CCPIT Business Summit 2017, the main summit between China, Latina America and the Caribbean. “There is a big public-private effort working on access to Asian markets. This year, in addition to China, we want to reach other countries such as Indonesia, Vietnam and India,” Bentancur said.

Chile in a leading position

“We have plenty of challenges, but also opportunities,” said Chilean Blueberry Committee executive director Andrés Armstrong. Chile, experienced in blueberry production and export, confronts new blueberry-producing countries from a position of leadership as it already has a sufficient production volume and base to trade and develop markets around the world. “Chile has a strong position as a global supplier of blueberries,” Armstrong said. It currently has more than 15,600 ha in production and its fresh blueberry exports are expected to exceed 94,000 t this season. Chile is present in China and Korea, markets which have helped boost exports to Asia overall, the continent which last year accounted for 9% of its total export volume. In the medium and long term it will be more important to address the production capacity, since there are many developing markets with potential for growth,“ he said. The benefits of varietal conversion in Chile will be more obvious next year, when production is forecast to rise about 10%. Labour and productivity costs are the main challenges, since their availability and competition with other crops hamper future growth. “As of this season, there is a high penetration of new packaging technology in Chilean industry. Who knows how this will progress in future and if at some point we will be able to mechanically harvest the blueberries for the fresh market,” Armstrong said. “We are always examining how we do things, from the field to the end consumer, as part of our ongoing effort to do things better.”

Argentina seeks to differentiate itself by taste

Argentina is a significant supplier of blueberries in the off-season for the Northern Hemisphere. Its production regions grow early or ‘first’ fruit with marketable volumes from September. The three major production areas are the northeast, which contributes 52% of the total volume; the northwest, with 40%, and the centre, with 8%. There is a total of 2,750 ha of produce equivalent to 17,500 t of fruit for 2016. “The Argentine blueberry stands out in the world market for its excellence in quality and especially for its exceptional flavour. This is mainly due to our climate and varieties, since we have undergone a significant change in varieties of nearly 85% of the total area planted. In addition, 95% of exports are sent by air to reach the destination country immediately, thus prolonging the fruit’s shelf life,” said Argentinean Blueberry Committee (ABC) president Carlos Stabile. The ABC is focusing its promotional activity on the fruit’s flavour and also looking to differentiate on origin. The US remains the largest market, with sustained growth but at a mature rate, followed by the UK, which is characteristic for selling by variety. Other markets include Europe, Canada and Asia, with 80% of produce that is sent to the latter continent going to Singapore, Hong Kong and the UAE, and permission to export to China imminent. 

Blueberries image by Jeremy Ricketts via Unsplash under CC0 License

This article appeared in edition 146 of Eurofresh Distribution magazine. Read more from that edition online here.
Read more berry news