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Argentine fruit sector welcomes lowering of export tax

Argentina’s fruit industry has received a welcome boost with the news that the country’s export tax is to be cut from 4% to 3%. The move is aimed at making the South American giant’s products more competitive on the world’s markets. The reduction applies to 207 products, including fresh fruit.

The tax was first imposed in January 2018 in a bid to offset the country’s trade imbalance in the light of a weak peso. According to Diario de Rio Negro, the tax break is estimated to save the fruit industry US$19.1 million, including US$11.9 million in the pome-fruit-growing region of Rio Negro alone. The region exported around US$400 million of fresh apples and pears in 2018.

It is expected that the fruit sector will now be pressing the government to eliminate the export tax altogether.

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GreenTech 2019 addresses crop production challenges

GreenTech 2019 will feature an all new knowledge programme which will take place on 11, 12 and 13 June at RAI Amsterdam. With this programme the international horticulture industry gets answers on how to optimize crop production and discover the latest technological innovations.

GreenTech will address challenges for growers worldwide with more than 80 sessions in three theatres which are developed in close collaboration with Delphy and Wageningen University. Sjaak Bakker, Manager Business Unit Greenhouse Horticulture of Wageningen University and Research, says: “Knowledge development, application and sharing with entrepreneurs will be highlighted during the GreenTech. During the knowledge programme, together with other stake holders and GreenTech exhibitors, Wageningen University will give a series of presentations on the latest developments in the sector on how to optimize your crop production. Do not miss this opportunity to improve your knowledge”.

A glimpse of what to expect

GreenTech, FarmTech and Agritecture are working together on a knowledge session for the vertical- and indoor farming segment. This is a growing market in the horticulture industry with high-tech innovations and rapid developments.

Anticipating in the growth of the Medicinal Cannabis industry, a session dedicated to Medicinal Cannabis will take place. Medicinal Cannabis attracts a lot of growers and investors. This session will be organised together with PhytoNext, Hoban Law Group and International Hemp Solutions.

Other horticulture experts will discuss relevant topics like organic greenhouse growing, the use of Artificial Technology for greenhouse production, autonomous greenhouse management but also water efficiency, energy efficiency, LED lighting strategies, greenhouse heating without fossil energy, climate control, human capital, robotics, organic crop production, biological crop control without chemicals and precision horticulture. Find out more about the knowledge programme and planning on https://www.greentech.nl/programme/.

Free registration for GreenTech until 3 June

Visitors can register free of charge until 3 June on  www.greentech.nl. After 3 June the online registration fee will be €40 including VAT per person, and €70 including VAT at the entrance desk.

 

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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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Germany looks to alternatives to expensive Ecuadorian bananas

Calls for supply regulation to protect banana prices 

Due to the high price of Ecuador’s bananas, exports to Germany have dropped by 20-25% in 2019, according to industry sources. German retailers are instead looking to buy cheaper alternatives from Central America, like Guatemala. The relatively high prices of Ecuadorian bananas are due partly to the country’s government setting a minimum sales price and partly due to the higher shipping costs from South America, from where ships must pay to cross the Panama Canal. On October 26, 2018, the Ministry of Agriculture of Ecuador set the minimum price for 2019 at US$6.30 per 20 kg box of bananas.

Europe and the US account for around 45% of Ecuador’s banana exports. The bananas no longer purchased by Germany are heading to Russia and other markets in Europe and the US. Ecuador’s banana production has increased on average by 17% over the past two years.

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Mexico’s berry exports reach US$2.1 billion

Mexico’s berry exports reach US$2.1 billion

Berries occupy third place in the agricultural exports of Mexico, only after avocado and beer, generating US$2.1 billion and 350,000 direct jobs. The sector is working on a collective brand, Berries de México. (Source: SAGARPA-SIAP Atlas Agroalimentario 2017)

Aneberries members represent 90% of Mexico’s berry exports. The association was founded nine years ago to ensure safety and phytosanitation standards and increase the country’s presence in international markets. Juan José Flores Garcia, CEO of Aneberries, said, “We seek to bring the Mexican industry together in an organised and specialised manner, protecting the interests of the union and seeking to reach its maximum potential in a profitable and sustainable way. Today we have 29 partner companies and we invite producers and exporters who are not members to join us to continue positioning and increasing the consumption of berries in Mexico. Within our areas of work, we are focused on the emerging markets of Southeast Asia, the Arabian Peninsula and the Middle East, and on achieving self-regulation, encouraging and strengthening social responsibility, and converting blackberry producing areas affected by phytosanitary problems.” Mexican berries are produced and exported almost throughout the whole year, with August and September being the months of low volumes. Although there was a slight decrease in the 2018 season compared to the previous one (as of October 2018 data) (source: SIAVI), Mexico’s production growth is dramatic. The main advantage it has over its competitors is that it produces the four species throughout the year, with raspberries and blackberries having the greatest volume share, followed by strawberries and blueberries, with the latter benefitting most from new technology and with very good profitability. Today, Mexico exports to 35 countries on four continents. Around 97% of exports are concentrated in the US and Canada, while 1.4% go to Europe and 1% to Asia. General manager, Juan José Flores García, sees Japan as a very good destination for blueberries: “Aneberries seeks to expand exports to Asian markets, where the reduction in tariffs will be key. That is one of the main challenges. In addition, we seek to be an example in terms of responsibility, sustainability and safety, which is why certification is promoted with different labels, such as GLOBALG.A.P., PRIMUS, SMETA, FAIR TRADE, USDA Organic, JAS, SRRC (Risk Reduction System) of Contaminants), among others.”

Since 2011, Aneberries has organised an annual international congress, recognised sector as the sector’s main berry event. It is aimed at producers, exporters and suppliers, where you can access conferences, work tables and exhibition stands. The 2018 edition saw an attendance of 1,650 participants, and Flores Garcia said that figure is expected to increase by over 25% by 2019.

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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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Spain remains emphatically Europe’s stone fruit king

peaches y nectarines

Intra-EU trade in peaches and nectarines measured 1.3 million tons in 2017.  Every year, Spain’s dominant position becomes ever more secure as Europe’s main producer of the stone fruits, and 2017 was no different. Spanish exports to other EU countries have risen steadily over the past decade, from below 500,000 tons in 2007 to almost 900,000 tons in 2017. Meanwhile, Spain’s biggest rival, Italy, has seen its fortunes go in the opposite direction. In 2007, Italian exports of peach and nectarine to the EU stood at around 330,000 tons, but by 2017 that figure had dropped to around 200,000 tons. Elsewhere, since 2013, Greece has seen a steady increase in its EU exports, reaching approximately 120,000 tons in 2017. Europe’s other main producers of stone fruit, the Netherlands and France, have recorded relatively low exports to the EU over the past decade, never exceeding 50,000 tons. The EU’s largest importers of peaches and nectarines are Germany, France, Poland and Italy.

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Ecuador’s banana exports drop 13%

Ecuador exportaciones semanales

Prices of Ecuador’s bananas have fallen as poor market conditions have led to lower exports (13% below average). The situation in Russia is particularly bad, with extremely low prices. The Spanish market price is more positive due to the supply deficit in the Canary Islands. In Weeks 1-21 of 2018, the average market price on Ecuador’s domestic market was up 1% compared to the same period of the previous year.

Meanwhile, Australian banana producers are looking at the possibility of exporting to the Philippines with import protocols in the pipeline. However, industry experts are doubtful about the current state of the Australian domestic banana market, with low demand causing an oversupply and a lowering of profits. Production costs are considered to be rather high in Australia, thereby impeding the country’s producers’ efforts to compete on the international scene.

 

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Chile’s grape production continues decline

chile grapes

In the past five years, Chile’s table grape planted area declined, but the decrease has slowed down since 2015/16 and the planted area in 2017/18 totalled 48,202 ha. One reason for the shift away from producing grapes is the declining profits they can secure in export markets in the face of increasing competition from abroad and higher expectations of quality, calibre and new varieties.  This means table grape producers must convert their orchards to more modern varieties and that requires capital investment. Chile’s first table grape harvest takes place in November and December in the northern regions of Atacama and Coquimbo, where water availability used to be an issue. However, the abundant winter rainfall in 2017/18 replenished reservoirs to almost maximum capacity and the next five campaigns look secure.

Around 80% of Chile’s table grape production is destined for export. In 2016/17, exports were up 6.4% from the previous year to 731,156 tons. The number-one market is the US, accounting for 47% of the total shipments. Grape exports in 2017/18 are projected to drop 1.5% from 2016/17 to volume of 720,000 tons. The peak export month is expected to be April, according to data from ODEPA.

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First Dutch sweet peppers land in China

Holland

On April 14th, the first batch of Dutch sweet peppers hit the Chinese market. The peppers are produced by the Harvest House cooperative and shipped by air to Weihai, a coastal city in Shandong. The peppers are sourced directly by leading retail chain Shandong Jiajiayue.  The peppers are picked, packaged and flown to China in less than 48 hours to ensure maximum freshness and flavour. These should be the first of many varieties of sweet peppers that will be introduced to the Chinese market this year. Among the varieties on offer is the red and yellow Enjoya pepper as well as both yellow and orange sweet snack peppers. Around 85% of Holland’s sweet pepper production is exported.