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New meeting point for global grape sector

New meeting point for global grape sector

Global Grape Congress will bring together key players in the fresh table grape category to connect and share their experience and expertise. Held digitally on 30th June, a combination of talks, interviews and discussions will allow an in-depth look at the business, including the development of new varieties, new technologies and new markets.

Expert speakers will offer insight into all areas of the table grape business, including key challenges like climate change and Covid-19.

Global Grape Congress 2021 represents an unmissable opportunity to grow your own business in fresh grapes.

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Smart Water Conference on 19-20 April

Smart Water Conference on 19-20 April

The annual Smart Water Systems conference will highlight the methods the water companies are using to ensure the goals and targets that have been set are reached and exceeded. The event will take place on 19-20 April 2021 at 11:00am (Europe/Madrid), and will focus on how new technologies, IOT and Artificial Intelligence can help to produce and analyse real-time data to ensure more efficient leakage detection and management; leading to better customer engagement and subsequently decreased customers water usage.

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Deputy Director General of FAO will be present at SHAFFE’s very first “Southern Hemisphere Fresh Fruit Trade Congress”

FAO Deputy Director General Beth Bechdol will be present at SHAFFE’s very first "Southern Hemisphere Fresh Fruit Trade Congress" © FAO


With the aim of bringing the fruit industries of the Southern and Northern Hemisphere closer together and to allow better planning for the coming year, SHAFFE will hold the first “Southern Hemisphere Fresh Fruit Trade Congress” on the 25th of March 2021, with the defining theme of “Keeping the world supplied” – a critical topic thrown into sharp focus in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic. The program of the Congress is now available online. In light of the ongoing International Year of Fruit and Vegetables declared by the United Nations (UN),  SHAFFE  is honoured to announce, that Food And Agriculture Organization of the UN (FAO) Deputy Director General Beth Bechdol will be opening the conference with a key note speech – on the importance of the Fruit industry to global agri-food systems.


3rd March 2021 – “We are more than honoured, to have secured such a high-level speaker for our conference, as this more than ever shows the importance of availability of fruit and vegetables as a key element to global nutrition and a healthy global society”, says SHAFFE president Mr. Charif Christian Carvajal M.  Next to FAO Deputy Director General Beth Bechdol, the program will include targeted market intelligence and discussion on trade flows and figures, crop trends and industry outlooks provided by experienced trade experts from all eight Southern Hemisphere countries – among them Mr. Nathan Hancock from Citrus Australia, Federico Baya from the Argentinian Blueberry Committee, Luiz Eduardo Raffaelli from Abrafrutas, Ignacio Caballero from the Chilean Fruit Exporters Association (ASOEX), Alan Pollard from New Zealand Apple and Pears, Ricardo Polis from ProCitrus Peru, Prof. Ferdi Meyer from the Bureau of Food and Agricultural Policy in South Africa and Carlos Maria Fraschini from Upefruy, Uruguay.

The conference will be held online in two different time slots, with the aim of facilitating the participation of representatives from different parts of the world. The first version will be at 11.00 a.m. (Central European time) to target Asian and Oceanian trade participants, while the second version will be at 5:00 pm (Central European time), to allow for the participation of North American, European and Latin American partners. During this congress, fresh produce professionals will have the opportunity to gather information on crop trends, production prospects and trade flows for the coming year, through the contributions from all SHAFFE members and market intelligence on consumer trends by the leading global research agency, IPSOS.

The Southern Hemisphere Association of Fresh Fruit Exporters (SHAFFE) was founded in the early 1990s as an exchange network for major Southern Hemisphere temperate fresh fruit exporters and growers. In total, its member countries represent an export volume of 11 million tons of fresh fruits, with a market value of 14 billion dollars, and a 25% share of the global produce export market.

During its almost 30 years of existence, SHAFFE has led important initiatives, such as establishing the exchange of data on key crops among its members, as well as organizing global membership forums, developing joint research initiatives, analysing and monitoring changes in procedures and policies in global markets, as well as providing instances of exchange and learning among its members.

In the digital age, which has been accelerated given the context of the Covid-19 pandemic and an increasingly complex global business environment, the members of SHAFFE have taken on the task of strengthening cooperation, through a more innovative format and closer collaborations, in such a way as to connect the fresh fruit industry of the southern hemisphere through the exchange of knowledge, facilitate access to markets and promote world fruit trade.

With a renewed Secretariat under the coordination of Ms Nelli Hajdu and a new presidency team led by Charif Christian Carvajal, who is marketing director Europe / Asia of the Chilean Fruit Exporters Association (ASOEX) in the role of president and Marta Betancur, representative from UPEFRUY in the role of vice president, SHAFFE is focused on strengthening the availability of resources for the entity, creating a supportive environment for the training of professionals in the fruit trade, developing closer collaborations with other similar industry trade associations, modernizing the exchange of information and communicating the role and contribution of SHAFFE to the global trade of fresh produce.

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European Commission presents results of study on organic agriculture in developing countries

European Commission presents results of study on organic agriculture in developing countries © European Commission

© European Commission


The European Commission held an online conference on organic agriculture in developing countries on 27th January. Under the title: ‘A realistic pathway? Evidence from long-term systems research’, the results of 12 years of comparative farming systems research in Kenya, Bolivia and India were presented to provide scientific evidence on economic and ecological sustainability of organic and conventional systems. 

The findings illustrate how organic systems and other agroecological approaches can contribute to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030. The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the 17 SDGs aim to end poverty and other deprivations. There is substantial evidence illustrating that dominant agricultural management practices are not sustainable for the future. 

Organic agriculture is proposed as an alternative, but its performance under tropical conditions is questioned as long-term studies are scarce. The conference addressed whether organic agriculture is a realistic pathway for smallholders in the Global South and if it can support the transformation of food systems. Furthermore, it addressed some key issues of the SDGs such as responsible consumption and production as well as eliminating poverty and hunger. 

The report ‘What is the contribution of organic agriculture to sustainable development? A synthesis of twelve years (2007-2019) of the long-term farming systems comparisons in the tropics (SysCom)’ was launched and the results presented at the conference. Finally, the results were reflected in the view of the Committee on World Food Security (CFS) with regards to its work on agroecology.

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United Fresh’s BrandStorm™ event to take place online with trio of expert speakers

United Fresh’s BrandStorm™ event to take place online with trio of expert speakers © United Fresh

© United Fresh


United Fresh’s 6th annual BrandStorm™ event will be held virtually between March 9th and 11th, 2021. The occasion will feature a panel of marketers and past United Fresh Produce Marketing & Merchandising Council chairs Roger Pepperl, Cindy Jewell and Mark Munger, for a fireside chat. There, they will share their perspectives on the past, present and future of fresh produce marketing. United Fresh Produce Marketing & Merchandising Council past and present chairs Roger Pepperl, Cindy Jewell and Mark Munger are featured speakers at this year’s BrandStorm.

“I count Roger and Cindy among my most respected industry friends and mentors,” said Mark Munger, vice-president of sales and marketing at 4Earth Farms and chair of United Fresh’s Produce Marketing & Merchandising Council. “I’m looking forward to this intimate chat where they’ll share their perspectives on marketing strategies that have impacted our industry and shaped my produce marketing career. It’s an honor and pleasure to host this conversation.”

Roger Pepperl served as the chair of United Fresh’s Produce Marketing & Merchandising Council from 2013-15 while he was working as the director of marketing for Stemilt Growers, LLC. He retired from the fresh produce industry in December 2020 after a 40-year career on both sides of the produce aisle as a retailer and then as a produce marketer.

Cindy Jewell was Pepperl’s successor, serving as chair of the Produce Marketing & Merchandising Council from 2015-17, and later as chair of the United Fresh Board of Directors from 2018-19. After concluding her leadership roles on the United Fresh board of directors, Cindy founded SC Jewell Inc., a marketing consultancy.

Jewell’s successor is Mark Munger and beginning in 2017, he has served two consecutive terms as the chair of the Produce Marketing & Merchandising Council, which he will relinquish this spring. BrandStorm, a project of the Produce Marketing & Merchandising Council, has been developed to engage all levels of brand and marketing professionals in the produce industry looking to enhance their knowledge of marketing strategies, tools and innovations.

United Fresh members can attend BrandStorm for $495 with discounts offered to marketing teams (from the same company) at the reduced rate of $395 each when you register three or more colleagues. Non-members can attend for $695. You can register here.

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HZPC launches Potato Days Live

HZPC launches Potato Days Live

The annual Potato Days are the leading event in the potato sector. Every year in November the event is organised by various companies, including potato breeder HZPC. This year, Wednesday November 4th 2020 is the day the Potato Days Live will take place at HZPC’s partners’ homes. The theme is Let’s connect! Professionals from the potato chain come together from all corners of the world to experience the latest potato varieties and to network. 

This year will be a special edition. Patrick Overwijk, communication manager at HZPC, said: “With Potato Days Live we present a new way to connect. A unique digital potato experience for all our growers, customers, partners and other potato professionals and enthusiasts. We come together in our virtual studio, talk about the latest developments, surprise our partners with inspiring presentations and of course we present our most important varieties”.

Wednesday November 4th, visitors of the Potato Days Live will be connected. At the digital event, speakers like Pedro Sousa (McDonald’s) and Gerard Backx (HZPC) will share experiences about the special time companies are going through because of COVID-19. They look for opportunities to support and strengthen each other. HZPC also allows its growers and partners to talk about how they can make a bigger contribution to the global food supply. Topics that come to the fore are: the relationship with potatoes and microbiomes, cooperation in the potato sector, potato varieties that can grow anywhere.

From anywhere in the world, potato professionals can participate in the event; time zones are taken into account and the event is translated into multiple languages. More information about the programme and registration can be found at

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Xtrema Fruit to discuss challenges facing stone fruit sector

Xtrema Fruit to discuss challenges facing stone fruit sector © Xtrema Fruit
Xtrema Fruit in 2018 © Xtrema Fruit


The 2nd National Stone Fruit Forum will take place on the platform on November 5, from 4.30 to 8 pm. Due to the coronavirus pandemic situation, it will take place online, with over 2,000 registered agricultural professionals from around the world. The topics to be discussed will include the expected impact in January 2021 of the new European regulation for organic production and the situation of the stone fruit sector for the next campaign. The latest advances and developments in the sector will also be presented. 

The presentations will be developed within different thematic blocks: Fertigation, Plant Health, New varieties and Alternative Crops, Ecological Agriculture and Marketing. In this last block there will be a round table in which those responsible for the associations of stone fruit producers of Extremadura, Murcia and Catalonia, which concentrate most of the Spanish production (Afruex, Apoexpa and Afrucat) and where they will analyse and discuss the state of the sector.

Among the experts who will participate as speakers are researchers from institutions such as Cicytex (Center for Scientific and Technological Research of Extremadura) or SEAE (Spanish Society for Ecological Agriculture), as well as from leading companies such as Bayer or Plantae.

The online event also has the collaboration and support of ICL Specialty Fertilizers, Alimentos de Extremadura, Eurofirms and Fruit Logistica.

The online event, organised by Agromarketing, is held in collaboration with Bayer, Afruex, Cicytex, ICL-SF, Alimentos de Extremadura, SEAE and Mercados Magazine. 

Those interested in attending can register for free at

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Blueberry market in Eastern Europe

Blueberry market in Eastern Europe © Fruit-Inform Agency
© Fruit-Inform Agency


On September 17, Fruit-Inform Agency (Ukraine) will hold an international Zoom webinar on the highbush blueberry market in Eastern Europe. The event will be in English and combine blueberry production and trade experience from both Western and Eastern Europe.

There are several reasons for an event dedicated to blueberries: they are one of the most expensive and transportable berry crops with perfect taste and flavour; their production and consumption has been actively developing in both the Southern and Northern Hemispheres; and they are traded in Eastern Europe all year round.

The areas that the webinar will focus on are: blueberry production in Eastern Europe; blueberry imports, exports and price performance; minimisation of production and trade risks; and blueberry business development strategies.

Among the speakers, a representative of an international organisation will present market trends in the European market and globally and a representative of a European trader will present his/her view of the blueberry trade developments. There will also be blueberry growers from Ukraine, Russia and Belarus with their assessment of blueberry production, trade and market trends, as well as partners holding webinars about blueberry growing, handling and storage technology innovation. Lastly, a representative of Fruit-Inform will reveal the results of the key study “The Market for Highbush Blueberries in the Eastern Europe-2020”.

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UK’s number-one on-farm conference goes digital

UK’s number-one on-farm conference goes digital


The UK’s largest organic on-farm conference, OF&G National Organic Combinable Crops (NOCC), is taking place virtually this year, with a series of interactive seminars and online farm tours led by experts in UK food and farming. They are free to join and open to all. V-NOCC is hosted by the largest certifier of UK organic land, OF&G (Organic Farmers & Growers), with the AHDB and Agricology supporting the digital programme with a series of webinars streaming live on 9th June, 7th July and 14th July.

OF&G’s business development manager, Steven Jacobs explains that the online event scheduled for the original conference date, 7th July, will see Farming Today’s Charlotte Smith leading a conversation with OF&G organic farmer, John Pawsey.

“John will be joined by no-till specialist, Clive Bailye, to talk about how they farm and where their approach is working and where it maybe doesn’t perform as well as they would like. Like all good business people, John and Clive have clearly defined strategies and they constantly observe how their farm activities impact the farm business, both from a financial and an environmental perspective. We want them to really get into the ups and downs of farming and to explore what lessons each might learn from the other. In the wider series, we’ll extend the debate around the economics and agronomics of farming. We want to look at what the threats are and what the opportunities may be following COVID-19, with Brexit and the climate crisis still very much on everyone’s minds,” said Jacobs.

The programme of webinars sees V-NOCC partners Agricology, the AHDB, NIAB and the Organic Research Centre (ORC) joining the sessions. Sue Pritchard, CEO of the Food, Farming and Countryside Commission and Vicki Hird from environment coalition, Sustain, join OF&G chief executive, Roger Kerr and the director of research at the ORC, Dr Bruce Pearce to discuss system approaches to food production with the land sharing model. The V-NOCC series will also feature John Pawsey in his role as chair of the NFU Organic Forum hosting a virtual organic farm walk.

“Farmers know they need to build resilience into their businesses, and now more so than ever,” said Jacobs. “To build circular economies and secure stable food supplies in the UK, we must face the climate crisis and take a whole food and farming system approach seriously. One of the things to come out of this pandemic is the range and accessibility of talks and conferences being put online. V-NOCC provides an excellent opportunity to show how organic, as a legally defined and certified whole system, offers resilience in terms of economics, agronomy and the environment. This will not be exclusive to our licensees or organic producers. We’re keen to welcome farmers and industry delegates from across food networks to join our online events.” 


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The 2020 California Organic Produce Summit cancelled due to pandemic

Organic Produce Summit to feature new consumer data and analysis

Scheduled for July 8-9 in Monterey, California, the much-awaited 2020 California Organic Produce Summit has been cancelled in light of the impact of COVID-19. In a press release, Susan Canales, conference president, said: “Based on the ongoing monitoring of health advisories and recent statements by the governor of California related to large gatherings, we have determined in order to protect the health, safety and wellbeing of all Organic Produce Summit attendees, that we cancel this year’s event.” The next conference will take place on July 14-15, 2021, in Monterey.

The fifth annual summit was scheduled to feature 152 organic produce growers, shippers and processors exhibiting products to more than 250 retailers and buyers. Exhibitors, sponsors and attendees have the option of rolling over their participation in the show to the new 2021 date or requesting a refund.