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SANDI seduces European consumers

SANDI seduces European consumers
Press Release

Last year, the watermelon, with 10,600 hectares (and a production of 608,000 tons), ranked second in Almeria, just behind pepper and above tomato

South-eastern Spain is the only producing area in Europe that since the middle of April is able to put watermelons of the highest quality and extraordinary flavour on the market. This was made clear during the presentation of the SANDI “The first European watermelon” promotion and information campaign, launched by COEXPHAL and HORTIESPAÑA, in collaboration with the Almería Provincial Council and its “Sabores de Almería” brand.

The president of COEXPHAL, Juan Antonio González Real, wanted to “publicly thank all the marketers associated with COEXPHAL who are collaborating by contributing their watermelons within the framework of this campaign, which, as you know, began last year, in April, in full lockdown. There was no chance to present our SANDI last year, so I want to invite all Spanish and European consumers to share the sweetness, quality and great flavour of this fruit that has become the first flavour of the summer”.

HORTIESPAÑA’s president Francisco Góngora noted that this campaign is fundamentally based on direct actions and on social networks. “The success of this project is corroborated by the numbers offered by the audience – last year, more than 200,000 people were impacted by SANDI through social networks. For 2021, falling in love with Sandi is the theme of humorous memes on social networks, to once again promote the consumption of the rich watermelon grown in the solar greenhouses of Almería and Granada. Furthermore, as a novelty, the campaign has a website where watermelon data, curiosities and recipes with different chefs will soon be available,” Góngora said.

The president of the Almería Provincial Council, Javier A. García, was satisfied to be able to collaborate in an initiative that values ​​the horticultural production of the province of Almería: “We have to highlight a watermelon that is made in solar greenhouses, in environmentally friendly facilities, which are a sink for Co2 emissions. The first European watermelon is possible thanks to the work of thousands of people who grow and produce health for all of Europe,” he said.

García added: “We are proud that 70% of the exported watermelons are from Almería and that our province is the cradle of the Mediterranean diet. The first European watermelon is very good because it makes us feel proud of our land and of what the people of Almeria do.”

Watermelon, second place in the Almeria garden

The manager of COEXPHAL, Luis Miguel Fernández, presented forecasts for this campaign regarding melon and watermelon. “For the entire 2021 cycle, the estimates compiled for COEXPHAL companies show an increase in watermelon production of around 3%, with a clear trend towards black seedless (up 4%). The mini sizes have also shown increases of around 7%. Organic production is growing faster than conventional, with 6% growth expected.”

Fernández also highlighted “the increase in the watermelon area in recent seasons, which has doubled in just 10 years. Last year, watermelon, with 10,600 hectares (and a production of 608,000 tons), ranked second in Almeria, just behind pepper and above tomato.”

As for melon, “the forecasts show a 3% drop in production. The only types that are increasing are Cantaloupe and Piel de Sapo. For the Galia and Yellow melons, although they are still the ones that occupy the largest proportion of surface area, a fall in the harvest is expected. Organic production is showing a worse trend than conventional: forecasts indicate a drop of close to 10%. In recent seasons, the surface area and production has stabilised at around 2,800 hectares and 122,000 tons. However, it will be necessary to closely follow this cycle to know whether the forecasts are finally realised. It should be remembered that 10 years ago, the area exceeded 4,000 hectares,” said the manager of COEXPHAL.


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Sandi returns this spring as “the first taste of summer”

Sandi returns this spring as "the first taste of summer"
Press Release

COEXPHAL and HORTIESPAÑA resume their campaign to promote the watermelon of southern Spain. Harvesting is underway of the first European watermelon grown in greenhouses in the southeast of Spain, destined for markets in Spain and Europe. To publicise the fruit’s healthy properties and excellent quality, COEXPHAL and HORTIESPAÑA are starting the promotion campaign, mainly through digital media, under the slogan “The first European watermelon”, to disseminate its health and organoleptic qualities.

New this year is a specially designed web page ( offering information on the fruit’s nutritional qualities and the main production and marketing figures, together with endorsements by “Ambassadors”, people from politics, culture or sports and renowned chefs, who will also prepare some recipes with the unique fruit.

Sandi is the character who gives visibility and prominence to the watermelon in all communications and posts on social networks, and will this year feature the slogan “The Taste of Summer” and the hashtag # LaPrimeraSandíaEuropa

Once again, collaboration has come from “Sabores de Almería” from the Almería Provincial government. The president of the institution, Javier A. García, the president of Hortiespaña, Francisco Góngora, and the manager of COEXPHAL, Luis Miguel Fernández, have sent watermelons as gifts to people from Almeria’s and Spain’s cultural and social scene to taste the watermelons from the southern greenhouses and get to know the campaign at first-hand.

During the past campaign, more than 100 million watermelons from Almería and Granada reached European consumers and 597,010 tons of watermelons were produced under greenhouses in southern Spain, which represents half of Spanish production. Spain is the world’s leading watermelon exporter, with 911,366 tons.

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COEXPHAL and PROEXPORT request EU support for circular economy in fruit and vegetable sector

COEXPHAL and PROEXPORT request EU support for circular economy in fruit and vegetable sector
Photo: Proexport

The Association of Organisations of Producers of Fruits and Vegetables of Almería (COEXPHAL) together with the Association of Producers-Exporters of Fruits and Vegetables of the Region of Murcia (PROEXPORT) have applied to the Ministry for the Ecological Transition and the Demographic Challenge (MITECO) for funds to set up a project with an estimated budget of €69 million aimed at advancing the sustainability of the fruit and vegetable sector in south-eastern Spain.

This Expression of Interest brings together a series of innovation and investment initiatives with defined objectives. These include promoting the circular economy in the entire fruit and vegetable value chain by reducing environmental footprints, helping to mitigate climate change by reducing the carbon footprint, contributing to the decarbonisation of the economy, improving biodiversity in the fruit and vegetable environment – in the production and marketing of fruits and vegetables – and guarantee the activity with the protection and improvement of the use of water.

To achieve this, the presented project includes three major measures:

  • Collect information on the technologies available for said objectives such as the recovery of waste, water, reduction of environmental footprints, energy, biodiversity, etc., and create a tool to enable the companies and cooperatives of both associations to obtain a diagnosis as a starting point.

  • Promote a set of research and innovation projects aimed at implementing the circular economy in the fruit and vegetable value chain, especially in the field of plant by-products and waste, as well as in water.

  • Influence an innovative investment by companies in available technologies to reduce environmental footprints and investments in technologies and biotechnologies generated in the project itself: recovery of waste, purification and reuse of water, revegetation of the agricultural environment and development of smart labels.

This Circular Economy Expression of Interest, promoted by COEXPHAL and PROEXPORT, has the support of the Almería Chamber of Commerce and the Sustainability Area of ​​the Almería City Council.

Expressions of Interest are an instrument for identifying projects that point towards two of the four axes on which the Recovery, Transformation and Resilience Plan of the Spanish economy acts. The Spanish Recovery Plan, inspired by the Climate Change Agenda, the 2030 Agenda and the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, will receive €72 million in the next three years from the Next Generation EU Recovery Fund, approved by the European Council on July 21.


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COEXPHAL analyses the modus operandi of fruit and vegetable companies after Brexit

COEXPHAL analyses the modus operandi of fruit and vegetable companies after Brexit
Photo: Coexphal

Almeria’s Association of Organizations of Fruit and Vegetable Producers COEXPHAL held a webinar last week titled ‘Brexit: practical aspects for exporters’ in which it addressed the post-Brexit scenario facing producers and marketers of fruit and vegetables.

Juan Antonio González Real, president of COEXPHAL, said: “Most of the COEXPHAL associates are exporters and the United Kingdom is our second market, both in volume and value. This is why Brexit concerns us very directly and we have considered it necessary to prepare this meeting, focused on the practical aspects that fruit and vegetable exporters should know, and with the presence of the 3 administrations that intervene in the procedures that we have to have consider.”

Manager of COEXPHAL, Luis Miguel Fernández, analysed the impact of a Brexit without an agreement on the export of fruit and vegetables from Almeria and Spain. “Most of our peppers, cucumbers, courgettes, aubergines, melons, watermelons, and tomatoes (although in recent seasons their export share to the UK has dropped) occupy an important market niche in the winter months in the UK. The proposal for tariffs on the fruit and vegetable product, if there is no agreement, is around 10% on average, without the existence of tariffs for Moroccan products, which produces a very worrying competitive disadvantage. The question that assails us is if we are finally going to a Brexit without an agreement, and the tariffs cannot be assumed, will the United Kingdom be able to look for other sources to source these fruits and vegetables? And, will there be other origins that can reach a sufficient volume to cover our gap?”

General director of Fepex, José Mª Pozancos, discussed the bilateral agreements between the UK and other countries: “The United Kingdom is negotiating trade agreements with non-EU suppliers of fruit and vegetables, and in this negotiation it has followed the common global tariff technique, replicating the trade agreements that the EU already has with those countries. Thus, it has simplified ad-valorem duties and schedules, has taken as a reference the tariff quotas of the European Union and has adapted them to the size of its market, significantly reducing them, applying the criterion of what its market share was. of the EU. And in relation to entry prices and specific prices, its application has been suspended. Furthermore, all member states of the European Union will receive the same treatment. There is no option for a bilateral negotiation. In the case of third countries, yes, and obviously this will have negative consequences for our sector.”

The technical part of the day focused on practical aspects and necessary procedures related to phytosanitary inspection, quality inspection and export.

Ignacio Menéndez, regional coordinator of Plant Health Inspection, said: “The current situation of the phytosanitary requirements established by the United Kingdom for the export of plants (V), plant products (PV) and other objects (OO) coming from the territory of the Union has been categorised into “High Priority plants”: which include machinery, potatoes, seeds of various species, wood, bark, trunks and branches of various species; Regulated products and exempt products. In addition, three phases of application of the regulations starting 01/01/2021. It is also necessary to take into account that all the movement of packaging and stowage of wood must be carried out with wood treated in accordance with the international standard NIMF-15.”

Pedro Martínez, provincial director of commerce in Almería, explained the conditions of trade with the United Kingdom after its departure from the European Union. “In January 2021, the United Kingdom will no longer have the obligation to apply EU regulations and the trade agreement that is reached for each of the sectors would enter into force. If there is no agreement, the United Kingdom will have the same treatment as other countries of the World Trade Organization with which the European Union does not have a preferential agreement. For the export and import of merchandise, on January 1, 2021, the need to carry out all customs and non-customs procedures required for a third country will begin. With or without a trade agreement, after the transitional period, the United Kingdom will be outside the EU Customs Union and will be a third country for all purposes both in trade of goods and services. Their products will cease to have the status of originating in the EU.”

Rafael Rogelio Molina, head of the Almería Customs and IIEE Unit, stressed that “in commercial exchanges, leaving the United Kingdom with or without an agreement will mean that they are subject to customs and non-customs procedures or formalities to verify the compliance with community legislation including the possible obligation to have an authorization or certificate from the competent authorities, which implies an additional procedure prior to import/export. On the other hand, products that are in transit, so that they are cleared by Spanish customs to continue to their final destination in the United Kingdom, will not be subjected to non-customs control in accordance with Union legislation, since presumably they will not they will be introduced in the internal market.”

Molina added: “It is important to highlight that the departure from the United Kingdom will mean that the EU’s trade agreements with third countries will cease to be applied in the United Kingdom, including the scope of preferential regimes. As of January 1, 2021, UK inputs (materials or processing operations) will be considered ‘non-EU origin’ within the framework of a preferential trade regime to determine the origin of the goods that incorporate them. It is therefore recommended that the operator verify whether the merchandise continues to have preferential origin in the EU and make sure that it can prove said origin.”

Gilles Percelay, commercial director of Ronco y Cía, said: “We are customs representatives and we take care of carrying out all the Customs procedures that exporters do not have the capacity to carry out. The United Kingdom has connections from the north of France, Belgium and the north of Spain with short sea routes. It is very important to arrive at the ports with the arrangements made and it is recommended that customs procedures be carried out at origin. This means that shipments should be dispatched in Almería and will have to arrive at the ports of departure with all the procedures completed.”

The webinar ended with the intervention of José Rodríguez de Guanter Rodríguez: “We carry out 20,000 annual operations of fruit and vegetables from third countries. We have created a network with customs representatives in all Spanish points where there is Customs, Fito and SOIVRE to give a complete service to the client. This same network has been created in France, which allows that, if the export cannot be done in Spain due to time or holidays, it can be done in France. We have a system that makes everything easy for the exporter. We take care of picking up the merchandise from Almería and putting it in London at the customer’s home, the importer and exporter don’t worry about customs procedures.”

In conclusion, the sector must put itself in the worst case scenario to work out ways of exporting to the UK in the case of a hard Brexit. Possible tariffs will reduce the profitability of Spanish fruit and vegetable exports to the United Kingdom and work should be done by Europe, in this sense, to eliminate or minimise them, studying the possibility of compensatory payments to offset said tariffs. The United Kingdom is the third largest market for Almería and so all fronts must work together to maintain the export volume and profitability that no other market can provide.