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Strong growth in Spain’s berry exports

Despite an 8.7% decrease in the planted area, production in Huelva – Spain’s leading region for berry production and exports – totalled 294,650 tons last season, up 2% on 2014/15, with sales rising 8% to €395.15 million, according to Freshuelva, the association representing Huelva’s strawberry growers and exporters.

Compared to the same period last year, Spanish export volumes for the the first seven months of this year are up 27% in the case of blueberries and 22% in the case of raspberries.

Analysis of Customs’ export data by Fepex, the Spanish federation of associations of producers and exporters of fruits, vegetables, flowers and live plants, shows that for January to July 2016:

  • Strawberry exports stood at 305,066 tons, up 14% on the same period in 2015, and worth €223 million (+34%),
  • Blueberry exports totalled 33,718 tons (+27%) for a value of €248.5 million (+31%),
  • Raspberry exports came in at 27,751 tons (+22%) for a value of €224 million (+34%),
  • Blackberry exports fell 2% to 1,956 tons but with the sales value up 15% to €13.4 million.

Huelva’s berry sales rose 8% in 2015/16

Despite an 8.7% decrease in the planted area, production in Huelva – Spain’s leading region for berry production and exports – totalled 294,650 tons last season, up 2% on 2014/15, with sales rising 8% to €395.15 million, according to Freshuelva, the association representing Huelva’s strawberry growers and exporters.

Source: http://www.fepex.es/news/detail/_continua-evolucion-positiva-frutos-rojos-huelva-organiza-tercer-congreso_en-gb

 

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2nd Berry Congress establishes itself as the great forum for berries

The aim is to make the event in Huelva the most significant international point of reference for the sector, with other formats that combine the concept of a technical, scientific congress with a commercial event.

The second Berry Congress (Congreso de Frutos Rojos) organised by the Huelva Association of Strawberry Exporters and Producers, Freshuelva, was held on 22nd and 23rd June in Huelva, seeing a significant leap in activity and participation, with growth of 40% in the number of companies participating compared to the first congress.

This year, there have been over 1,200 registrations, up 30% on the previous event. Specifically, 50 companies that supply services and products geared towards the berry sector (strawberries, raspberries, blueberries and blackberries) were present with a stand in the congress’ commercial area. This enabled direct contact with berry producers who work in the province of Huelva, the most important production and commercial zone for red berries in Europe.

There were a total of 17 talks and presentations, three spaces for activities, a zone for commercial presentations and 50 stands occupied by companies that interact with the berry sector. These numbers sum up this second edition, establishing this congress as one of the big events for berries and opening up a new work scenario for the next editions, since there will be a commitment to a more international, open format and content in the agenda.

The aim is to make the event in Huelva the most significant international point of reference for the sector, with other formats that combine the concept of a technical, scientific congress with a commercial event.

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Huelva strawberry sales up 8%

Spain's strawberry capital, Huelva, has ended its latest season with production up 2% on last year to 294,650 tons.

Spain’s strawberry capital, Huelva, has ended its latest season with production up 2% on last year to 294,650 tons.

The increase came despite an 8.7% decrease in the planted area.

Freshuelva, the association representing Huelva’s strawberry growers and exporters, also reports €395.15 million in sales for the 2015-16, a figure 8% above that for the previous season.

In a press release, it said data provided by its members showed the average price for strawberries saw a small increase of 1.5%.

Harvesting took place nearly a month earlier than in other years due to a very mild winter, which favoured the quality of the fruit in the early months and an optimal rate of ripening.

The two main export markets for strawberries from Huelva are Germany and France, which take 30% and 20% of its total exports respectively, followed by the UK with 13%.

Despite competing with local production from countries such as France, Italy, the UK, Germany and Belgium in European markets during May, the quality of Huelva’s strawberries allowed it remain competitive in these markets throughout that month.

The heat of early June brought about a gradual end to the season in the province’s different production zones as the high temperatures reduced fruit quality.

Raspberry sales see 24% upswing

Regarding other berries, Freshuelva reported raspberry production of 15,800 tons, a rise of 10% on the previous season, from a planted area that was 16% bigger at 1,815 ha. Sales were ​​24% higher at €120 million. About 95% of Huelva’s raspberries are exported.

The average price was up 8.5% overall on last season though in May and early June, due to increased availability and therefore competition from the start of local seasons in Huelva’s top two export markets for raspberries, the UK and Germany, prices dropped at the end of the season.

The blueberry and blackberry seasons were still underway at time of writing but in both cases production was up significantly on a year ago thanks to increases in the planted areas to 1,953 and 130 hectares respectively.

By the end of May, Huelva had exported 17,800 tons of blueberries and 650 tons of blackberries.

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Growth – and diversification – in Spanish berry production

Spanish soft fruit production increases and consolidates as an alternative to strawberries.

Berry production, especially of blackberries, blueberries and raspberries, has shifted from an alternative production to an important cash crop for Spanish farmers, notes the USDA in a new GAIN report.

In the last five years, Spanish farmers have embraced berries as the best way to diversify their activity – and minimise the risks associated with strawberry monoculture – and as the most competitive compared to other soft fruits.

And they are riding on the back of increasing demand for soft fruits not just in Spain, but within and beyond the EU, the report says. According to FEPEX, the Spanish federation of associations of producers and exporters of fruits and vegetables, berry exports in the last six years show an upward trend within the EU28, but an especially significant one in relation to non-EU countries.

“This change is seen in the main Spanish region for strawberry production, Huelva in Andalusia, where strawberry farmers are opening new markets and business lines designed to achieve greater profitability to its business,” the report says.

“Farmers in Huelva, Andalusia, the main Spanish region for strawberry production, are increasing the planted area for blackberries, blueberries and raspberries.”

Strawberries and Huelva still dominate Spain’s berry sector

Despite the growth in alternative berries, strawberries remain the main soft fruit grown in Spain, with production rising from 189,741 tons in 2008 to 317,700 tons in 2015 (based on FEPEX figures).

Huelva accounts for 97% of total Spanish strawberry production. Its strategic location in south western Spain sees it influenced by the Atlantic, with exceptional climatic features allowing it to offer the first European berries each season. In recent years several U.S. berry companies have invested and installed offices in Huelva, both due to special climate conditions and the strategic point to reach Spain, EU, Africa and the Middle Eastern markets.

Decline in planted area

However, FresHuelva, the association of strawberry producers and exporters in Huelva, calculates that the planted area for strawberries in Spain shrunk 9.2% last season, while that dedicated to other berries expanded 25%. The total area for soft fruits during last campaign 2014/2015 was 9,460 ha compared to 9,500 ha the previous year.

Source: FAS Madrid with FresHuelva Data

source: “Spanish soft fruit production increases and consolidates as an alternative to strawberry”, USDA GAIN report number: SP1604, February 10/2016

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Huelva diversifies and turns to sustainability

Sustainability is the watchword for Spanish farmers and traders, concerned about water foot - print and committed to deliver good qua - lity berries.

Huelva province, the biggest producer of fresh berries in Europe, is consolidating the crop diversification initiated last year and thereby ensuring the presence of Huelva berries across European markets for almost nine months a year.

The province of Huelva planted 9,658 ha of berries this season, reducing the strawberry area by 9% compared to 2014/2015, but still compensated by an increase of 25% in the rest of the berries, announced Freshuelva.

The growth in the planted area of raspberries, blue berries and blackberries is the result of Huelva’s commitment to diversifying its production, a movement that started strongly last season with farmers seeking new alternatives to meet consumer trends in Europe.

The strawberry plantation area is now estimated at 5,860 hectares (6,400 ha last season, -8.7%), while raspberries account for 1,815 hectares (1,560 ha last year, +16%), blackberries for 130 hectares (90 ha last season, +44%) and blueberries for 1953 hectares (1,470 ha last season, +33%), although a significant number of the blueberry orchards are young and will not produce at their full potential.

The ‘new’ berries are mainly being planted along the western Coast of Huelva, where surface water is available for irrigation, stressed Freshuelva.

MV

This article appeared on page 95 of edition 141, Jan/Feb 2016, of Eurofresh Distribution magazine. Read that issue online here.

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Huelva’s strawberry sales up 21%

Spain’s strawberry capital, Huelva, has bounced back from last year’s poor results with a nearly 21% boost in turnover – to €355 million – in its latest season.

Spain’s strawberry capital, Huelva, has bounced back from last year’s poor results with a nearly 21% boost in turnover – to €355 million – in its latest season.

Freshuelva, the association of producers and exporters of strawberries from Huelva, says the sector has ended the 2014/15 season with strawberry production up 3% on last season, to 288,660 tons, even though the land base decreased 9%.

Importantly, after one of its worst seasons in recent times in 2013/14, sales – totalling €355 million – were back to levels similar to those of 2012/13. This recovery was thanks to a 22% increase on last season in the average price, according to figures reported by member companies.

Screenshot 2015-07-01 at 18.07.56.png

In a press release, Freshuelva said the price was helped by the fact that fruit quality in the first quarter of the year was excellent, thanks to favourable weather. However, and as has often occurred in previous years, at the end of March there was a peak in production which saw a considerable drop in prices.

About 78.5% of this year’s strawberry harvest was sold for fresh consumption and the rest used for processing. Freshuelva said the quality of the strawberries meant those from Huelva still found a market in Europe in May despite then competing with local production in countries such as France, Italy, the UK, Germany and Belgium.

Because of the intense heat in recent days, which reduces fruit quality and consistency, the harvest of fresh strawberries has come to a close.

The raspberry season has also concluded, with production up 20% on the previous season to 14,480 tons. Despite repeating last season’s 5% fall in the average price, Huelva’s raspberry sales rose again, this time by 15.7%, to €90.3 million.

In the first quarter of the season, 95% of the raspberries picked were exported, which was up significantly on the previous season. Prices dropped notably in May and early June as local production came on in the two main markets where Huelva’s raspberries are consumed – the UK and Germany.

The blueberry and blackberry harvests, which started in mid-March, continue, though at a slower pace.

source: Freshuelva