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Chinese and Catalan collaboration on agri-food industry

The Chinese province of Fujian and Catalonia to collaborate on agri-food matters.

A delegation from the southeastern Chinese province of Fujian, including the head of its Department of Agriculture, Jiang Shaofeng, visited Fruits de Ponent last week.

They toured the trading cooperative’s facilities in Lleida, as well as learning about the company’s fruit production, packaging and marketing. Fruits de Ponent said the visitors showed interest in exporting its fruit to China.

Plan to increase Catalan trade with China

The visit was organised by Prodeca, which promotes the Catalan agri-food industry, and was one of a series of activities it hosted for the delegation over July 1-3. As part of its China Plan, Prodeca aims to increase Catalonia’s trade with Asia in food and other agricultural products.

During its visit, the Chinese delegation signed a memorandum of understanding with Catalan government representatives designed to foster cooperation and mutual assistance between them in the agri-food industry area, and closer institutional collaboration.

sources:
Fruits de Ponent (source of photos) 
Prodeca

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How Australia is tapping fresh produce opportunities in China

"Australia is in quite a nice position to be able to segment the market by focussing on being a niche market player rather than getting caught up against the big volume suppliers."

The importance of suppliers building long term trade relationships with China and adapting to its customers’ tastes was recently stressed by Loren Zhao, co-founder of the country’s rapidly-expanding online fruit retailer, Fruitday.

Speaking as part of the London Produce Show breakfast panel, Zhao singled out Australia and New Zealand as countries doing a good job in this regard. He said that in the future, China “will be consuming most of the global produce” and he said it is looking to these suppliers, which he said are already focusing on India and China. “It’s very important to grow products with the Chinese customer in mind.”

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Zhao said the US and Australia are spending a lot of money in order to change their fruit varieties and grow newer ones in response to demand from Chinese customers. “We see that they also want to invest for the market for us.”

“A lot of exporters just want to trade and they want to sell everything to China but other exporters want to cooperate…like Zespri and Sunkist,” he added.

Promising export future: Australian table grapes and citrus

Speaking to ED at the London show, PMA Australia-New Zealand CEO Michael Worthington said table grapes are a good example of where Australian growers are adapting to Chinese tastes.

“Australia is producing a lot of very good quality red and black grapes which the Chinese love. Crimson seedless has been a very successful variety, because it’s obviously seedless but it also has good Brix. There are some black grapes coming on to the market that have got a very high brix, so very much going for sweetness, which suits the Chinese palate,” he said

The Chinese very much buy on colour and a sweet taste, so I think Australia is in quite a nice position to be able to segment the market by focussing on being a niche market player rather than getting caught up against the big volume suppliers such as Chile” he said.

“On the citrus side, the Australian navel quality is very good – probably the best in the market – and well-recognised in China, and some of the mandarins that Australia is now producing also fit in very well with Chinese consumers because of their good colour and flavour.”

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“Another real positive is that grapes and citrus fit very well with online sales – you can make nice convenience packs of table grapes. And with online sales booming in China, this is a great area for a niche marketer such as Australia to supply.”

Aussie Cherries also popular in China

Tasmanian cherries provide another example of Australian fresh produce fitting very well with Chinese tastes, Worthington said. “Tasmanian cherries tend to be larger size, very high quality and coming from grower-marketers of a small enough scale that they can go very niche as opposed to being a mass supplier that’s always trying to shift big volumes.”

Hopes FTA will see new protocols expedited

Worthington said it’s hoped the recently signed free trade agreement between China and Australia will speed up quarantine protocols allowing more fruit varieties to be traded between the countries.

“There’s a number in the pipeline both ways, such as stonefruit from mainland Australia and I am confident that as direct trade builds up (as opposed to the traditional “grey channel” supply into China via Hong Kong), we will see more vegetable lines, such as broccoli and carrots, and products such as mangoes and avocadoes exported out of Australia.”

Efficient distribution: key to success in e-retail

On online sales, he said China is doing very well in its ability to get the produce to consumers. “I think in a lot of other countries, particularly western ones, that last mile of logistics is the biggest challenge to growing online sales, whereas in China they’ve got these multiple small distributors on motorbikes and bikes and everything else that can get the product to the consumer.

“It’s a mixture of finding the right product, that is of a high enough value, matched with a distribution system that’s very much more efficient, as opposed to trying to look at it just purely as a price point and keeping the cost of an online sale at or below what you’d pay if buying in a supermarket,” he said.

 

Relief map of Australia by Hans Braxmeier (http://www.maps-for-free.com/) [CC BY-SA 2.5 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.5)], via Wikimedia Commons

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Turkish farm exports still surging

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Turkey’s exports of fruit increased by a third and vegetables by 9% in the four years to 2013, according to the USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS).

The country is now a major exporter of agricultural products, both to the Middle East and other markets, it said in its report “Turkish Agricultural Exports Continue to Surge“.

Turkey’s farm exports have tripled in the last decade and were valued at more than $16 billion in 2013. It now comes after only India, China and Ukraine in terms of the highest export growth rates among the world’s top 20 agricultural exporters.

Middle East a major motor for Turkey’s export growth

Although the EU-28 remains Turkey’s largest export market, nearly all of Turkey’s growth in trade has been to developing countries, especially those in the Middle East, FAS said.

Iraq: In 2013, nearly a quarter of Turkey’s agricultural exports went to Iraq. Exports there more than doubled in just three years – from $1.5 billion in 2010 to $3.5 billion in 2013 – led by vegetable oil, flour, poultry and chicken eggs.

Syria: The turmoil in Syria has also increased its import demand. Turkish agricultural exports to Syria quadrupled in 2013, and rose another 50% in the first half of 2014.

Russia: Turkish exports to Russia, in particular, have been strengthening and could increase even more this year in light of Russia’s year-long ban on a wide range of agricultural products from the EU, United States, Canada, Australia, and Norway.

Africa: Turkish exports to Sub-Saharan Africa have also skyrocketed.

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Read the report here.

 

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US to spend $173.2 million promoting exports of its farm products

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The US Government has announced funds of more than $173 million to be used next year to increase exports of American agricultural products.

Washington apple growers, Florida citrus producers, California’s table grape sector and the Northwest pear industry are among those set to benefit from multi-million dollar allocations.

 

Cranberry, cling peach, cherry, sweet potato, tomato, and organic produce organisations are also among the recipients.

 

Through the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) Market Access Program (MAP), the Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) will provide $173.2 million (up from nearly $172 million last year) to 62 nonprofit organisations and cooperatives. Participants contribute an average 214% match for generic marketing and promotion activities and a dollar-for-dollar match for promotion of branded products by small businesses and cooperatives.

 

MAP focuses on consumer promotion, including brand promotion for small companies and cooperatives, and is used extensively by organisations promoting fruits, vegetables, nuts, processed products, and bulk and intermediate commodities.

 

Meanwhile, under the Foreign Market Development (FMD) Program (also known as the Cooperator Program), FAS will allocate $26.7 million (up from $24.6 million last year) to 22 trade organizations that represent U.S. agricultural producers.

 

The FMD program focuses on trade servicing and capacity building by helping to create, expand and maintain long-term export markets for US agricultural products.

 

An independent study released in 2010 found that trade promotion programs like MAP and FMD provide $35 in economic benefits for every dollar spent by government and industry on market development, the USDA said in a press release.

 

“The past six years represent the strongest period for U.S. agricultural exports in the history of the United States. Farm exports in fiscal year 2014 reached a record $152.5 billion and supported 1 million jobs in the United States,” it also said.

Here is our summary of this year and last year’s funding most relevant to the fresh fruit and vegetable sector:

 

USDA Market Access Program (MAP) funding: Participant FY 2015 Allocation FY 2014 Allocation
Food Export Association of Midwest $10,272,114 $9,637,643
Food Export USA Northeast $8,896,086 $8,138,985
Western US Agricultural Trade Association $7,705,129 $8,097,508
Southern United States Trade Association $7,152,346 $5,874,329
Washington Apple Commission $5,179,019 $4,930,752
National Potato Promotion Board $4,998,822 $3,647,427
Florida Department of Citrus $4,383,830 $3,885,364
California Table Grape Commission $3,424,871 $3,093,070
Pear Bureau Northwest $3,069,707 $2,926,873
California Prune Board $3,023,063 $2,668,406
Raisin Administrative Committee $3,018,117 $827,922
Sunkist Growers, Inc. $2,660,274 $2,372,577
National Association of State Departments of Agriculture $2,329,520 $3,533,072
Cranberry Marketing Committee* $1,791,836 $1,561,170
Washington State Fruit Commission $1,685,709 $1,361,810
U.S. Apple Export Council $998,650 $712,727
Welch Foods, Inc. $932,734 $834,411
California Agricultural Export Council $861,378 $1,228,525
Organic Trade Association $784,902 $746,912
Intertribal Agriculture Council $728,492 $642,528
California Cling Peach Growers Advisory Board $500,182 $444,892
California Pear Advisory Board $468,842 $442,081
California Cherry Marketing and Research Board $443,722 $519,189
New York Wine and Grape Foundation $422,674 $484,886
California Grape and Tree Fruit League $413,125 $420,800
Synergistic Hawaii Agriculture Council $379,415 $388,412
Cherry Marketing Institute $290,042 $204,115
American Sweet Potato Marketing Institute $200,000 $200,000
Florida Tomato Committee $3,578  
National Watermelon Promotion Board   $290,367
*Cranberry Marketing Committee also received the following in Foreign Market Development Funds (FMD) $182,665 $153,754