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New start for Harvest Season and garciaBallester in Asian citrus market

New start for Harvest Season and garciaBallester in Asian citrus market
Credit: Press release

An event held on 12th February in Palma del Río, Córdoba, makes official and consolidates the alliance between Harvest Season and garciaBallester. The two large companies, leaders in the business, are now united in achieving the same goal: to become leaders in the Asian citrus import market. garciaBallester’s own facilities were chosen as the ideal setting to seal the union between the two companies. 

Representatives and senior executives from both companies were present from the beginning, with garciaBallester represented by Jorge García (CEO), Jorge C. García, (management coordinator), Lucas (Asian export manager), Miguel Meliá, (GB Palma del Rio’s packhouse manager) and Stephane (sales director), and Harvest Season represented by Tony Zhang (general manager).

The event started with the reception of both parties in garciaBallester’s facilities, and later on they went out to the fields.  Once in the field, which was also in the middle of the orange season, the union between both companies was formalised. To do this, a customised pickaxe was used as a symbolic element to announce their commitment to a new era in the citrus market in Asia. Later, attendees were treated to a guided tour around garciaBallester’s facilities. 

The highlight of the event was the cutting of the opening ribbon, where Harvest Season and garciaBallester celebrated their new chapter together. They were able to share new ideas and also to answer questions from the invited press. The event demonstrated successfully how to start this new stage for Harvest Season and garciaBallester.

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Exotic fruits flood into Vietnam

Exotic fruits flood into Vietnam, Credit: Marco Verch (Flickr)
Credit: Marco Verch (Flickr)



Vietnam imports US$150 million of fresh fruits and vegetables every month, with shipments soaring from the US and Australia. This influx has led to exotic fruits becoming less pricy and fuelling further demand. The General Department of Vietnam Customs reports that the main sources were the US and Australia with imports rising over the past ten months by almost 70%. Shipments of fruits from South Africa rocketed by 39%, while those from New Zealand were up 38%, those from China climbed 36% and those from Chile increased 21%.

The volume of fresh blueberries imported from the US by air has reached 350 tons this year. In the face of the larger supplies, prices have tumbled, with the average price per kilo of blueberries falling 40% since last year and Australian Navel orange prices plummeting 35%

The prices of other exotic fruits have seen similar patterns, such as New Zealand’s kiwis and apples, US grapes, Australian mandarins and South African pears.

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Fruit and vegetable sources for the UK & Ireland

The UK is a big consumer of banana and other exotic fruits, such as pineapples, mangoes, papayas and avocados.

While the UK sources most of its fruit from outside the European Union, it buys most of its vegetables from within the EU

UK fresh produce imports – of both vegetables and fruit – have increased 12% in value in the last three years.

Total fruits imports rose from €2.56 billion in 2013 to €3.26 billion in 2015. Intra-EU imports represent 40% of UK imports, while extra-EU imports represent 60%.

Spain is the top foreign fruit source for the UK, but its other import markets are mostly non-European countries. Last year, Spain supplied the UK with 679,523 tons of fresh fruits, followed by South Africa and Costa Rica with 346,359 and 303,221 tons respectively.

The UK is a big consumer of banana and other exotic fruits, such as pineapples, mangoes, papayas and avocados. In 2015, a total of 1.14 million tons of banana and 313,116 tons of exotic fruits were imported into the UK.

According to a recent survey by the UK government (see Food Pocketbook 2015), prices are 5.7% higher in the UK than elsewhere in Europe.

Spain and the Netherlands: top suppliers of the UK vegetables market

Concerning vegetables, imports are stronger with European partners. More than 80% of imported vegetables in the UK were provided by a European partner in 2015 (€2.98 billion for 2.73 million tons). Vegetable volumes dropped slightly – from 3.66 million tons in 2013 to 3.39 million tons in 2015 – but the values rose from €3.41 billion to €3.85 billion.

With a total of 1.01 million tons, Spain is the UK’s top supplier, followed by the Netherlands with 744,239 tons. Spain and the Netherlands together supplied 64% of the volume of the UK’s vegetable imports.

The bulk of imported vegetables came from Southern Europe, such as tomatoes (329,526 tons), onions and garlic (173,617 tons). Imports of potatoes and carrots fell to 136,984 tons (-74% over 2013-15) and 63,534 tons (-22%) respectively, but the UK imported more legumes (+55%).

Ireland: Europe the main source

Ireland’s fruit and vegetable imports have generally increased since 2013 both in volume and in value. Its vegetable imports reached 332,794 tons in 2015 (+5% on 2013) for a total value of €289.04 million, while fruit imports totalled 304,910 tons (+8% on 2013) for a value of €403.73 million.

Bananas are the top category for Irish imports (85,630 tons), followed by apples and pears (67,759 tons in 2015) and citrus (63,999 tons). In term of value, apples and pears were the most lucrative category with nearly €73.3 million.

The UK, the Netherlands (both major re-exporters) and Spain together supply more than 80% of Ireland’s vegetables imports but its fruit sources are more diversified. The UK is Ireland’s top source for fruit, last year supplying 49,913 tons, which represented 16% of Ireland’s total fruit imports. Neck and neck in second position were Costa Rica and the Netherlands with 39,345 and 39,192 tons respectively.