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Chilean cherries top Alibaba’s fresh produce sales on Singles’ Day in China

Alibaba's Mr. Fresh, ASOEX and Fruta Cloud joined forces to promote Chile’s cherries on China’s biggest shopping day ever

Chilean cherries have once again played a big role in Alibaba’s sales on Singles’ Day in China.

The e-commerce giant made a record RMB 120.7 billion (USD 17.8 billion) in gross merchandise volume during the shopping festival, celebrated on November 11.

According to a press release from Fruta Cloud – which helps customers source fresh, quality fruit from around the world – this year Chile’s fruit exporters association ASOEX joined with Alibaba and Fruta Cloud to promote the ideal growing conditions, the rich farming history and the advanced technology behind cherries from Chile.

Alibaba’s Mr. Fresh, ASOEX and Fruta Cloud joined forces to promote Chile’s cherries on China’s biggest shopping day

November 11 also marked the start of the Chilean cherry season and ASOEX’s marketing campaign, it said.

“As the major supplier for Alibaba’s Mr. Fresh, Fruta Cloud invested resources in procurement, quality control and logistics to guarantee the optimal consumer experience,” it said.

Known for its massive discounts, the November 11 shopping festival had a new theme this year to show that the Chinese consumers are looking for a premium product at a reasonable price.

Arrival of air freight of cherries from Chile to China imported by Fruta Cloud

“Mr. Fresh and Fruta Cloud unveiled super-sized (JJJ, 30mm) Chilean cherries for the first time.

“They were quickly sold out before the festival began. Indeed, Chilean cherries became the highest grossing item in the fresh produce category.

“Our effort demonstrates that there is a genuine and growing demand for premium produce on Alibaba’s Tmall platform,” said Fruta Cloud CEO George Liu.

“ASOEX’s marketing message really resonates with our customers, I think it’s a bold and effective campaign that helps Chilean cherries build strong brand recognition and loyalty in the minds of the growing upper middle class,” Liu said.

Source: Fruta Cloud

 

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China’s nectarine market opening to Chile

Ronald Bown, president of the association representing Chile’s fruit exporters, Asoex, said Chile has the potential to eventually export in the region of a million boxes to China.

Chile will be able to export its nectarines to China as of next month, Chile’s agriculture minister Carlos Furche has announced.

After three years of negotiations and various meetings of officials from both countries, the relevant protocol is expected to be signed in November during a visit by the president of China to Chile.

In a press release, Furche, who is attending ChileWeek events in Miami, said Chile’s global nectarine exports already total about US $50 million a year.

He said the Chinese deal means Chile’s nectarine producers and exporters will have access to a market undergoing strong growth and provides opportunities to diversify their shipments.

It is also important amid what is a very competitive global market with the entry of new nectarine suppliers from countries in the European Union and in the Southern Hemisphere, Furche said.

Ronald Bown, president of the association representing Chile’s fruit exporters, Asoex, said Chile has the potential to eventually export in the region of a million boxes to China.

He said the export deal will benefit more than 500 producers and in turn help improve conditions for labourers.

“AQSIQ Vice Minister Mr. Wu Qinghai met with Minister of Agriculture of Chile Mr. Carlos Furche in Beijing on September 2, 2016. The two sides conducted in-depth discussions on the inspection and quarantine access of agricultual products and food mutually provided and reached several consensuses. After the meeting the two sides signed cooperation documents.
Chilean Ambassador to China, Director of Chilean Agricultural and Livestock Service, Directors from Chilean associations in fruits, pork and meat, and officials from CNCA, Department of Supervision on Animal and Plant Quarantine and Department of International Cooperation of AQSIQ attended the meeting.”

source: AQSIQ

Source of image at top: Chilean ministry of agriculture  

 

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Record exports of Australian grapes

Australian growers need to supply fruit with high sugar content, crisp berries and consistent bunch colour in order to command a premium price over the significant volumes being produced by Chile

Experts believe Japan could easily become Aus­tralia’s second-biggest trading partner after China, according to Australian Table Grape Association CEO Jeff Scott.

Scott said there has been growth in only two categories in the Japanese fresh produce market — table grapes and kiwifruit, reports The Weekly Times.

Japan is currently the fourth-largest export market for Australian table grapes and this year exports there are up 406% on the previous year.

Indeed, Australia’s table grape exports have taken off in general this year.

The country’s 2015-16 table grape export season has seen 108,594 tons exported by the end of May with an estimated value of AUD $364 million, up 32% on the same time last season.

China is the top destination, followed by Indonesia.

Scott stressed the importance of product differentiation in allowing Australian grape growers to compete with those in Chile, South Africa and Peru.

Australian growers need to supply fruit with high sugar content, crisp berries and consistent bunch colour in order to command a premium price over the significant volumes being produced by Chile, he said

Source: Table grapes in price spike as exports take off, Shannon Twomey, The Weekly Times

 

 

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Lower fruit production in Chile

In 2015/16, the following weather conditions combined to reduce yields of cherries, table grapes and apples in Chile: 1) higher than ideal temperatures reduced the number of chill hours during the winter; 2) rainfall during the spring and harvest season; and, 3) high relative humidity during the summer.

Climatic conditions combined to prune yields of cherries, table grapes, apples, walnuts, and wine grapes in Chile during the 2015/16 marketing year, reports the USDA Global Agricultural Information Network (GAIN).

Higher than ideal temperatures reduced the number of chill hours during the 2015/16 winter. This meant blooming was delayed, uneven, and lasted longer, and the fruit set reduced for all fruits in Chile.

Another adverse factor was the rainfall during spring and the harvest season. The rain in October and November decreased cherry production and that in mid-April  – during the harvest of apples, table grapes, walnuts and wine grapes – decreased the quality and volume of exportable fruit, GAIN said.

Thirdly, high relative humidity during summer caused fungus diseases like Botrytis on table and wine grapes.

Cherries

The less than ideal number of chill hours in winter and spring delayed the cherry harvest about 10 days. A 27.7% drop in exports was initially expected but exports recovered temporarily in January. Overall, however, the MY2015/16 export volume of 83,729 tons was down 19% on MY 2014/15.

China/Hong Kong was the destination for 84% of Chile’s cherry exports and, because of the reduced volumes, prices were 15% higher.

Apples

The climatic conditions in spring caused uneven bloom, delaying the Royal Gala harvest 1-2 weeks. The harvest window was shorter and the last fruit left did not achieve the colour requirements and was too mature to harvest – factors preventing export.

Fruit volume destined for the processing industry (juice) was high and the prices dropped but reception of Chilean Royal Gala apples was good in the US market.

The Fuji variety was damaged the most by the mid-April rains, since it was in the middle of the harvest and there was some fruit cracking.

The volume of apples exported by Chile from week 1 to week 20 (May 22) was 351,152 tons, which was up 16% on the same period in 2014/15. Overall, it is forecast to export a total of about 660,000 tons of apples in 2015/16.

Table grapes

Chile’s table grape harvest was also delayed, which decreased exported volumes, though a recovery in exported volumes took place in April.

Overall, 2015/16 exports are expected to drop to 660,000 tons, down 12.5%.


 

source: “Climatic Conditions Lower Chilean Fruit Production Volumes”, USDA GAIN report CI1612, date 5/27/2016

 

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Oppy reports strong growth in sales of Envy™ apple

Envy currently ranks fifth in volume, behind the well-established Honeycrisp, Pink Lady, JAZZ™, and Ambrosia, which is remarkable given it has been commercially available for just four years, said Oppy’s executive category director for apples and pears David Nelley.

Sales of the Envy™ apple nearly doubled in volume between 2014 and 2015, reports Canada’s Oppenheimer Group (Oppy).

And Envy’s dollar contribution rose by over 120%, growing faster than all other premium apples in both measures, according to FreshLook data.

Vancouver-based Oppy, a leading fresh produce sales, marketing and distribution company, said Envy demonstrated the strongest growth in pounds and also the strongest growth in retail sales of 11 premium apples in 2015 compared to 2014.

The apple currently ranks fifth in volume, behind the well-established Honeycrisp, Pink Lady, JAZZ™, and Ambrosia, which is remarkable given it has been commercially available for just four years, said Oppy’s executive category director for apples and pears David Nelley.

“We’re proud of that achievement, but not surprised, given that one super premium retailer in California told us Envy has been the biggest item in terms of gross sales in the entire store for certain periods,” Nelley said.

source: https://oppy.com/fresh_sheet

The Washington crop sold out in March but from June through September, Oppy sources the bright red apple – which it says has a crisp crunch and intense sweetness all season long – from New Zealand and Chile.

It said last week that the New Zealand Envy crop was already on its way, “much to the delight of retailers across North America, who are eager for the strong dollar and volume contributions of this premium apple to resume.”

“Cool nights and dry harvest days have colored up this season’s New Zealand Envy crop beautifully. Our retail partners are in for a real treat, not only because the fruit looks and tastes so good, but its category contribution is proven and continues to come on strong,” Nelley said.

Source: Oppy
Main Envy™ apple image: https://envyapples.com/en

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Hortifrut & Munger Brothers, LLC to merge

To be called Munger-Hortifrut North America, Inc., the new subsidiary of Hortifrut S.A. will manage its North American berry operations

Munger Brothers, LLC (California, US) and Hortifrut S.A. (Santiago, Chile) – both Naturipe Farms partners – have signed a memorandum of understanding to merge the Munger’s berry business with Hortifrut, S.A.

To be called Munger-Hortifrut North America, Inc., the new subsidiary of Hortifrut S.A. will manage its North American berry operations.

The merger means the formation of a consolidated global berry organisation with operations in Washington, Oregon and California in the US as well as in Canada, Mexico, Peru, Brazil, Argentina, Chile, Europe, Africa and Asia, Naturipe Farms said in a media release.

Munger Brothers, LLC is the largest North American fresh blueberry producer, with over 1,200 ha in the premier producing regions from British Columbia to Washington, Oregon, California and Mexico.

“We are extremely proud and honoured to join hands with the Munger family, whom we have known for well over a decade and with whom we have successfully collaborated on a wide range of berry projects,” Hortifrut S.A. founder and chairman Victor Moller said in the release.

“With this unique event in the produce industry, we have integrated berry production across the spine of the Pacific coast line from British Columbia in the north to the southern tip of Chile,” he said.

Naturipe Farms CEO Dwight Ferguson said the merger of the two Naturipe Farms grower-owners will be a natural extension of the collaboration they have long enjoyed. “Both are leading berry companies, highly innovative with experienced and knowledgeable management teams who have consistently focused on exceptional customer and consumer experiences,” he said.

The merger, expected to be accomplished during the fourth quarter of 2016, is subject to conditions including approval by Hortifrut S.A. shareholders and various third parties, the release says.

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US ponders new rule for Chilean lemon imports

Chilean lemons would be allowed into the US without needing methyl bromide fumigation under a change being considered by the US Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (Aphis).

Chilean lemons would be allowed into the US without needing methyl bromide fumigation under a change being considered by the US Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (Aphis).

Fumigation is currently required to reduce the risk of infestation by the false red mite. But under the possible new rule, commercial consignments would be allowed into the US subject to the following ‘systems approach’:

  • the production sites where the lemons are grown would have to be registered annually with the national plant protection organisation (NPPO) of Chile and certified as low prevalence production sites,
  • shipments would be subject to post-harvest processing and phytosanitary inspection in Chile at an Aphis-approved inspection site,
  • any shipment not passing initial inspection could still be imported if fumigated with methyl bromide in Chile or at the post of first entry into the US,
  • all consignments would have to be accompanied by a phytosanitary certificate from the NPPO of Chile containing an additional declaration that the fruit was produced according to the import requirements.

On or about April 4, Aphis will publish the proposed new rule and open a 60-day comment period. Once published, comments on the proposed rule can be submitted on-line here.

Source: Aphis stakeholder announcement

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Imports capture under 10% of US fresh apple demand

Imports are a growing presence in the US fresh apple market but still small relative to domestic production, according to the publication ‘Fruit and Tree Nuts Outlook: Economic Insight US Fresh-Market Apples’.

Less than one in ten fresh apples eaten in the United States in the last five years was grown abroad, figures from a USDA report show.

That’s up from an average of one in twenty in the 1980s.

But while imports are a growing presence in the US fresh apple market, they are still small relative to domestic production, according to the publication ‘Fruit and Tree Nuts Outlook: Economic Insight US Fresh-Market Apples’.

It says the the US is a leading importer of fresh apples and the amount of globally sourced fresh apples in the US has risen significantly since the 1980s – from an average 237 million pounds in the 1980s to almost 400 million pounds over the last 5 years. “Record imports were reported in 2003/04 at 472.7 million pounds. Import share of domestic fresh apple use has risen from a 5% average in the 1980s to around 8% over the last 5 years.”

Chile the US’s main foreign source of fresh apples

With counter seasonal production, Chile accounts for over 60% of total import volume, making it by far the US’s top foreign source of fresh apples.

It has emerged as a strong supplier over the past decade having “successfully developed a more export-oriented apple industry and benefited from the growing demand in the Northern Hemisphere for off-season fruit.”

New Zealand, Canada and Argentina account for most of the rest of US fresh apple imports.

Imports continue to be concentrated over the US summer but the combination of new varieties with later harvest dates and the increased use of more sophisticated storage technology have enabled the US apple industry to move domestic apples more evenly across the marketing season. “Even in summer months when import volumes are increased, domestic production dominates fresh apples shipped throughout the year.”

“The marketing season for US apples runs from August through July. Harvesting occurs between August and November, but the ability to store apples for a long period and counterseasonal import availability permit more even distribution of supplies throughout the year, which mitigates seasonal price variability.”

US apple exports

Five countries – Mexico, Canada, India, Taiwan, and the United Arab Emirates – account for more than half of US apple exports, with Mexico alone taking more than a quarter.

More than 60% of the total export volume for the marketing year is shipped between October and the following March, partly coinciding with the fall harvest.

High hopes for more exports to China

The report says a bright spot in US apple exports is the prospect of future sales increases to China.

“The 2015/16 season will be the first full marketing year with expanded market to China and already, export volume this season through January is 98% higher than the same time in 2014/15. The US apple industry estimates that within two years, exports to China will reach a value of nearly $100 million per year.”

source: Fruit and Tree Nuts Outlook: Economic Insight US Fresh-Market Apples

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Agroberries leading Southern Hemisphere supply

Agroberries has more than 500ha of blueberries planted between Chile and Argentina.

Agroberries is consolidated as one of the Southern Hemisphere’s leading exporters, producing in Chile, Argentina, Mexico and the US.

In 2014 the company traded 25 million kilos of blueberries, blackberries and raspberries, mainly to markets in the US (60%), the UK and continental Europe. Now, the company is in the midst of an expansion process.

“We plan to invest 12 million dollars in the next couple of years in Chile, Argentina, México and the US. We are also looking with great interest into Peru,” said general manager Juan Pablo Spoerer. The strategy involves duplicating the planted surfaces, introducing highly resistant varieties as well as technology and information system improvements.

Agroberries has more than 500ha of blueberries planted between Chile and Argentina. Exports this season from Chile alone are estimated at around 8,000 tons, representing 20% more than last year. “In Argentina we have exported 1,800 tons this season, showing growth of 80% – making the company Argentina’s number one blueberry exporter,” Spoerer said.

The company recently announced a strategic alliance with S&A Produce Ltd, a leading UK distributor. SAB Produce, the new company with shared ownership, will be in charge of marketing fruit coming from the Americas, Europe, Morocco and Egypt into the European market. Asia is another market with huge potential for growth.

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Kiwi from Chile: ripening is key

In Chile, the Chilean kiwi committee, alongside a group of experts from the PUC  University, has carried out in-depth research to identify the critical variables so that the outer skin, heart and pulp all ripen evenly.

Kiwifruit, just like bananas, mangoes and avocados, needs to be ripened. If the product is not properly ripened, it runs a considerable risk of being deemed bad fruit. The satisfaction rating of kiwifruit end consumers is currently rather erratic.

For the outcome to be consistent, kiwi ripening does not take place on the plant, so a transforming process is necessary. The key to achieving it lies in maintaining a clear and well-organised process, where exporter and recipient have clearly demarcated functions and responsibilities.

In Chile, the Chilean kiwi committee, alongside a group of experts from the PUC University, has carried out in-depth research to identify the critical variables so that the outer skin, heart and pulp all ripen evenly.

“This way, we managed to determine the exact steps to follow in every link of the production chain to achieve preconditioned fruit that can be properly ripened,” the Chilean Kiwi Committee said.