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Director of Proexport advocates diversification of production and markets to cope with Covid-19

Director of Proexport advocates diversification of production and markets to cope with Covid-19 - Fernando P. Gómez Molina, director of Proexport © Proexport
Fernando P. Gómez Molina, director of Proexport © Proexport

 

On Tuesday 13th October, director of Proexport, Fernando P. Gómez Molina, spoke at the PMA Fresh Summit (Produce Marketing Association), where, together with representatives from Chile and Hong-Kong, he analysed the impact of the pandemic on the European fruit and vegetable market. In his speech, Gómez addressed the situation facing the European fruit and vegetable sector and the characteristics that define the “new” consumer in light of the situation posed by Covid-19 and how fruit and vegetable companies must deal with this situation, innovating in their processes and adapting to new consumer demands.

“Fruit and vegetable suppliers must be prepared to keep costs low and productivity high, while we must defend the value of our product in a constantly innovating market,” Gómez said. In addition, a good strategy for the future would be “to diversify production at source and expand destination markets to reduce the risks of an unstable market.”

The PMA Fresh Summit session, Around the World in Fresh Products: An Update on International Challenges and Opportunities, addressed the impact on the global product market and ways to generate new opportunities or overcome barriers to business. Along with Gómez, Nicolás Moller Opazo, Vice President of Hortifrut (Chile) and Patrick Vizzone, Director of Food, Beverages and Agribusiness of ANZ Banking Group (Hong Kong) participated.

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Segura Food Bank distributes 257,600 meals in Murcia donated by School Fruit Programme

Segura Food Bank distributes 257,600 meals in Murcia donated by School Fruit Programme

 

Various charities in Spain’s Murcia Region are benefiting from the donations of fruit and vegetables. Part of the Programme of Consumption of Fruits and Vegetables in Schools of the Region of Murcia, the food is allocated by the Ministry of Water, Agriculture and Environment to the Segura Food Bank in response to the difficulties caused by Covid-19 for educational centres as 

In this project, which is funded by the European Union, the Government of Spain and the Region of Murcia and in which Proexport is an authorised distributor, a total of 422 schools and 92,055 Murcian students have participated during the 2019-2020 school year, 46% more of schoolchildren than in the previous edition.

Proexport is collaborating with the Food Bank in the distribution of vegetables throughout the month of September, through the weekly distribution of ready-to-eat plum and watermelon rations to entities that are in charge of caring for families with minors resources.

“Although the consequences of the pandemic have prevented us from reaching children directly with the fruit that we delivered to educational centres, we are grateful that the Ministry of Agriculture has decided to make this donation that, indirectly, will help those minors who, due to the situation economic of their families, they have more complicated the daily intake of these rations, they can also receive them,” said the head of the School Fruit Programme at Proexport, Natalia López Carrillo.

Some 20,000 kilos of fruit, distributed in more than 184,000 servings, have been delivered in September to entities such as Hermanitas de Caravaca and Yecla, Hospitalidad de Santa Teresa de Cartagena Foundation, Hospital de la Caridad de Cartagena, Asociación Un poco es mucho de Alhama from Murcia, Blessed Piedad de la Cruz de Alcantarilla and Jesús Abandonado de Murcia.

These amounts are added to those already donated during the month of March, when face-to-face classes were suspended and the State of Alarm was decreed. In total, the Segura Food Bank has distributed 31,443 kilos of fruits and vegetables, corresponding to 257,598 rations from the Murcia Region School Fruit Programme.

During the 2019-2020 school year, the distribution of 1,288,770 servings of various fruits and vegetables (apple, pear, banana, tomato, plum, apricot, nectarine, melon, orange, watermelon, celery and carrot) was expected, but due to the closure of schools due to the pandemic, only 515,705 rations could be distributed, so the Ministry of Agriculture opted to donate a substantial part of the products that could not be distributed to the Segura Food Bank.

Photo: Proexport

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Vietnamese fruit exports to China plummet 

Vietnamese fruit exports to China plummet 

 

Vietnam’s fruit exports to China plunged 25% during the first eight months of 2020 due to stricter quality and origin standards imposed as well as the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, which has caused disruption to transportation and higher freight costs. A report published by VN Express highlights how fruit and vegetable wholesale markets in China are imposing higher requirements for imported fruits to meet the demand for higher-quality fruit. This has led to a loss in value in Vietnamese fruit, as acknowledged by the country’s sector. According to a report, in the first quarter of 2020, the value of Vietnam’s exports to China fell by 29.4%.  

There have been detections of harmful bacteria in imports from Vietnam, according to Yuan Ya Xiang, general secretary of the Shanghai Fruit Business Association. 

Dang Phuc Nguyen, general secretary of the Vietnam Fruit and Vegetables Association, said that many businesses in Vietnam operate on a small scale and have poor packaging practices, whereas exporters need to possess at least 10 hectares of production area to meet the VietG.A.P. standards required to be able to export to China without quality concerns.

China is Vietnam’s largest export market, accounting for 27.8% of all agricultural exports (US$8.5 billion in 2019). Vietnam’s main exports to China are dragon fruit, watermelon, lychee, longan, banana, mango, jackfruit, rambutan, and mangosteen.

Photo: VnExpress / Giang Huy

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Nature’s Pride continues to expand

Nature’s Pride continues to expand

 

Nature’s Pride is expanding its existing business premises to facilitate further growth. The importer of exotic fruit and vegetables has scheduled the start to an expansion of 21,000 m2 for September. The company has chosen practically the same construction team responsible for the current premises to realise this sustainable and automated new build project.     

“We will enter into an agreement with four contractors: De Vries en Verburg, Climate Service Holland, Mansveld and Van Kempen Koudetechniek.  These four companies are familiar partners who also constructed our current premises. A tried and trusted partnership, that we believe will result in the joint creation of an impressive and sustainable building featuring the latest technology,” said Fred van Heyningen, CEO of Nature’s Pride.

“The rising demand for our ripened produce and the success of Apeel is driving rapid growth. The expansion will result in more space for ripening chambers and the logistics process. The warehouse facility will be automated and packing robots installed at the sorting lines. This will enable continued growth and safeguard our quality,” said Willem Verbakel, COO of Nature’s Pride.

The architecture of the premises, designed by Paul de Ruiter Architects, will reference and seamlessly match the current human-centred building. The sustainable characteristics of the building will be applied in line with recommendations from consultancy and engineering service DWA. Nature’s Pride already has a BREEAM-Excellent certificate for sustainability. The sustainability ambition is BREEAM-NL Outstanding for the expansion. For example, the new packing areas, cooling and ripening chambers will be heated and cooled sustainably. The residual heat generated by the cooling system will be utilised for low temperature heating regulated by a climate ceiling system. Solar panels will supply a significant proportion of the energy demand. Rainwater will be harvested, distributed and cleverly reused. The vegetation covered roof will convert CO2 into oxygen and filter fine particles from the air. 

Nature’s Pride expects the new premises to be operational in Q4 of 2021.

Photo: Nature´s Pride

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China’s fruit imports fall while exports rise

China’s fruit imports fall while exports rise

 

China’s fruit imports were down 8% in the first half of 2020, according to data released by the China Chamber of Commerce. Total fruit imports reached 3.64 million tons. However, the value of fruit imports rose 14% to US$6.33 billion, due in large part to escalating shipping costs during the pandemic. Meanwhile, China’s fruit exports for the first six months of the year were up 25% to 1.35 million tons (US$1.98 billion). The top ten fruit categories by import value accounted for 84% of the total value of imports. The main imported product was fresh durian ($1.5 billion, +68%), followed by fresh cherries ($1.23 billion, +34%), fresh grapes ($610 million, −2%), bananas ($520 million, −15%), mangosteens ($450 million, −12%), fresh dragon fruit ($360 million, +85%), fresh longans ($200 million, −6%), fresh kiwifruit ($180 million, +0%), oranges ($150 million, −27%) and plums ($140 million, −24%).

The  top-ten exporters of fruit to China in the first half of 2020 were Thailand, Chile, Vietnam, the Philippines, Australia, New Zealand, Peru, Ecuador, Indonesia and Egypt.

In the first six months of 2020, China imported 946,000 tons of bananas. The main countries of origin were the Philippines (431,000 tons, −24%), Vietnam (197,000 tons, +21%) and Ecuador (192,000 tons, −12%), with imports from these three countries accounting for 87% of total banana imports.

 

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Fruit Expo: The only south China trade show for the fruit industry

Fruit Expo: The only south China trade show for the fruit industry

The Guangzhou International Fruit Expo will be held on 24th-26th September at the Import & Export Fair Complex. The event represents a platform for providing quality healthy fruit, where visitors can explore the tremendous fruit market represented by firms from home and abroad.  Guangzhou is one of the biggest fruit trade hubs in Southeast Asia. Supported by the China Fruit Marketing Association (CFMA), Fruit Expo 2020 will be held on a show floor of 30,000 sq.m and provide the best industry resources for the 500+ exhibitors and 30,000 visitors. The concurrent World Fruit Industry Conference 2020 will gather C-suite executives from China and overseas to explore new opportunities for the world’s fruit on the Chinese market and for quality Chinese fruits in the world markets.

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Japan registers fall in fruit consumption amidst high prices

Even though fruit is a significant snack globally, and even vegetables are popular in the Asia-Pacific region (57%), cheese is the most eaten snack in Europe (58%), bread/sandwiches in the Middle East (47%), ice cream in Latin America (63%) and potato/tortilla crisps in the US (63%).

The first half of 2020 saw fruit prices in Japan at their highest levels for a decade. The soaring prices have no doubt contributed to the drop in fruit consumption. Between January and June 2020, the average price of fruit in Japan was US$4.86/kg, compared with US$4.34/kg for the period since 2011, according to data from Japan’s Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications. So, as demand has fallen, the average Japanese household spend on fruit has risen. Fruit consumption has dropped to 31.5kg per household, the second-lowest total since 2011 and 5.5% lower than the ten-year average. Fruit expenditure per household for the 6-month period was 5.7% above the ten-year average, reaching US$153.3, its highest level in a decade.

However, the two categories that bucked the trend are kiwifruit and banana. In the first six months of 2020, banana consumption in Japan was at its highest since 2012, reaching 9.88kg per household. Records were broken for kiwifruit consumption, with 1.23kg consumed per household. The remarkable performances of kiwi and banana have been ascribed to the effective promotional campaigns targeting these fruits.

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EU records 8% rise in imports of organic fruits and vegetables

EU records 8% rise in imports of organic fruits and vegetables

 

The EU’s organic agri-food imports remained stable in 2019 at 3.24 million tons, despite sustained internal growth. According to a report published by the European Commission, a drop in imports of organic cereals was offset by rising imports of tropical fruit, oilcakes, soyabeans and sugar. Colombia and Kazakhstan are the new arrivals on the scene and have become major suppliers of organic products to the EU. The main importing EU Member States in 2019 were the Netherlands, the UK and Germany. Fruit and vegetables constitutes the second largest group of imported organic products, with 1.35 million tons arriving in 2019 (42% of total organic imports).

Tropical fruit, nuts and spices (66 %) account for the largest share, with bananas making up 85% of total organic tropical fruit imports. Imports of organic fruit and vegetables increased by 8% in 2019, with tropical fruit, nuts and spices up 13%, reaching almost 0.9 million tons. Organic tropical fruit, nuts and spices are imported mainly from the Dominican Republic (34%, 0.3 million tons), Ecuador (31%) and Peru (15%). Almost half of the imported organic citrus fruit is shipped from South Africa (46%), while other main suppliers of organic fruits are Turkey (25%) and Argentina (17%). About half of organic fruit juices imports come from Turkey and Mexico (both 25%). Middle Eastern countries are the main origin of organic vegetables, including Egypt (26%), Israel (22%) and Turkey (17%).

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Sanifrutta focuses on sustainable and plastic free packaging

Sanifrutta focuses on sustainable and plastic free packaging

 

Sanifruttta is developing the sustainable packaging required by current European and Italian retail trends. “We are trying to develop a plastic-free packaging for all our summer fruit lines, from peaches and nectarines to plums, in line with the developments taking place in large-scale distribution,” said sales manager Alessio Chiabrando. With total annual stone fruit production of around 15,000 tons, Sanifrutta holds a large market share. Almost all of its peaches and nectarines are destined for Italian and European customers. As for plums, 70% are shipped to overseas markets.

Founded in 1989 in Verzuolo (Cuneo), Sanifrutta is an agricultural cooperative engaged in continuous improvement to guarantee consumers total transparency along the entire supply chain. It produces apples (part of the Crimson Snow club), peaches, nectarines, kiwis and plums.

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Granfrutta Zani increases volumes of white-fleshed peaches 

Granfrutta Zani increases volumes of white-fleshed peaches 

 

Frosts striking Italy in late March and early April have brought Granfrutta Zani’s summer fruit production to its knees. “2020 was to be the year in which we should have consolidated our Metis plums marketing, but the 70% shortfall of product has made us review everything. As for peaches, we are continuing to increase production of peaches and nectarines in the white-flesh segment. In a bad year like 2019, they were our lifeline. As for apricots, we are continuing to replace old varieties with new yellow-skinned ones,” said Raffaele Buccella, sales manager for Italy. In a year that is set to be very difficult due to the small crop, Granfrutta Zani’s output will be destined for Italian and European retail, which together absorb about 90% of the company’s production.

Founded in 1962 by Luciano Zani in Granarolo Faentino (Ravenna), the Granfrutta Zani Group today has over 500 members located throughout Italy and produces stone fruit, strawberries, kiwis, pears, apples, watermelons and vegetables. It has two large processing plants and its annual production exceeds on average 100,000 tons.