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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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Murcia’s stone fruit producers report 25% jump in production costs 

Murcia’s stone fruit producers report 25% jump in production costs 

 

Producers in Spain’s Murcia region have calculated that the Coronavirus has resulted in a 25-30% increase in production costs. Proexport CEO Fernando Gómez, speaking to Efeagro, said that the reasons for the rise were greater absenteeism, a reduction in hourly productivity, higher transport costs, and the introduction of numerous safety measures.

Proexport estimates that one in ten workers did not report to work in the first month of the blockade, as they were forced to stay home with their families. Absenteeism rates have now started to drop.

Meanwhile, as Murcia’s stone fruit campaign gets underway, the number of workers is half that of past years, as producers struggle to keep costs low. Santiago Martínez, president of the Federation of Agricultural Cooperatives of Murcia (Fecoam), warned about the difficulties that will arise as the season progresses: “In May, we will reach the he peak of the stone fruit campaign and problems will arise with those fruits that cannot be processed due to a lack of staff. At that point we should start experimenting with the cold storage capacity and adopt a ‘plan B'”.

To help producers survive, proposals have included limiting working hours and persuading retailers to absorb the increased production costs, without passing them on to consumers.

 

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Murcia’s agri-food business up 22.3% in five years

Murcia’s agri-food business up 22.3% in five years

Agri-food exports from Murcia now get to 165 countries on five continents. According to the latest collected data, 75% of exports were destined to the European Union, simultaneously, they have been increased and diversified, with regard to the number of destination countries.

It is noteworthy that the agri-food component of the Murcia trade balance has turned positive over the last five years, shifting from €2.4 billion in 2013 to €3.2 billion in 2017. The increasing evolution of the trade balance has been due to a sustained growth of the agri-food exports, which reached €4.8 billion in 2017. This figure represents a 22.3% increase in the last five years.

The destination of the Murcian agri-food exports is essentially the European market. Nevertheless, in the case of agri-food products, the concentration of exports in these markets might be a handicap to overcome, since perishable products are subject to demanding sanitary controls and they greatly depend on the available logistics. Thus, the fruit and vegetable sector in the region of Murcia, supported by the regional authority, is working to enlarge the export destinations. In such a way, the intention is to confront the incidences in traditional destinations that, due to political-related issues, are leading to waste certain market shares. Notable among these incidences are the decline of the Russian market and the potential effects of Brexit on exports in the region of Murcia, that might be lower due to trade openness of markets that have been closed up to now. In this sense, the aim is to consolidate the Chinese market, following the agreements on stone fruit and table grape.

Furthermore, tariffs reduction on artichokes and processed peppers carried out by the United States, will benefit the Murcian production.

In addition, the sector is demanding to include actions in India, Nigeria, South Africa and the east cost of the United States, in order to expand export markets. All this along with maintaining markets in Europe and other areas in the world, such as Middle East, that have been consolidated through different foreign promotion actions.

 

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Dasben expands organic production

“For us the most important varieties are stone fruits. Nectarines come first in the range, followed by flat peaches, which are increasingly popular year upon year,” said commercial manager Josep María Griñó.

With a track record of over 15 years, Dasben is a consortium of major producers located in the Lleida area and, for the past 4 years, also in Murcia, supplying its customers with stone fruit from start to finish of the campaign.

The firm also grows apples and pears, supplying produce to customers all year round.

“For us the most important varieties are stone fruits. Nectarines come first in the range, followed by flat peaches, which are increasingly popular year upon year,” said commercial manager Josep María Griñó.

With an annual growth rate of 10%, stone fruit is in a period of expansion.

Griñó said diversifying this fruit towards the organic segment is highly promising, as it is bound to keep growing.

Dasben is continually engaged in varietal reconversion, “which, in addition to the privileged climate, is what has earned us our fortunate position.”

The main export destinations for stone fruit are northern European countries.

“We are looking into diversifying markets towards North America or Asia, but we want to be sure that we have the technological capacity to reach them. Packaging companies visit us each year, offering new products to help withstand longer transit periods, and we are continually doing trials,” Griñó said.

 

 

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Cano Nature or the Soleil Royal highly select melon

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The company from Murcia has continued its development as a recognised specialist in Charentais highly select melons since 1968. Its renowned brand Soleil Royal is recognised by panels of French consumers annually among the Charentais melon brands of greatest flavour. It also produces artichokes and broccoli in the winter under the Vita Vert brand. “We grow 400 ha of melons and 25 ha in greenhouses, exporting for 4 months from April 15 to the end of September,” said company head Asdrubal Cano. It supplies several big French and Belgian distribution chains and has also begun to enter other European markets. “German and Swiss chains are showing increasing interest in great-tasting melons,” Cano said. Since April last year, the family company has been in new facilities located between Cartagena and San Javier, in the heart of the main Spanish melon-growing area. Passionate about quality, Asdrubal Cano is seen to be extremely demanding in the selection of varieties and products. “We always strive to exceed the customers’ expectations in flavour and aromas. In fact, we gain our customers’ loyalty by giving them satisfaction,” he said.

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Successful debut of Probelte Forum on crop protection for sustainable agriculture

A debate organised by the company ProbelteFito on use of phytosanitary products and sustainable agriculture drew an attendance of more than a hundred people in Murcia last Thursday (May 19).

A debate on use of phytosanitary products and sustainable agriculture drew an attendance of more than a hundred people in Murcia last Thursday (May 19).

Organised by the company ProbelteFito, the forum was held under the title ‘Moving towards sustainable agriculture for healthy food’ and as live streamed on video.
In a press release, ProbelteFito said the forum surveyed the current regulatory framework for use of phytosanitary products at both Spanish and European level. A comparison was made with the applicable legislation in other countries considered competitors in the fruit and vegetables market.

Much of the debate revolved around the information that reaches the consumer, which was considered sufficient but sometimes confusing, since Spain has tight control on the use of phytosanitary products this message does not always get through to consumers. “This adds to confusion in regard to organic products when the impression is given that that other foods are not healthy though in reality phytosanitary products, as expressed during the forum, are the “medicines of plants”.

Moderated by food journalist Francisco Seva, the forum included participation from Francisco Jose Gonzalez, Abelardo Hernandez, Felipe Medina, Andrés Antonio Martinez and Joaquín Ignacio Martinez, and was closed by ProbelteFito president Jose Manuel Casanova.

With over 45 years of experience in the agrifood sector, Probelte is dedicated to the manufacture and marketing of phytosanitary products, including plant protection, fertiliser and related products.

For more information: www.foroprobelte.es

 

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Probelte forum on making agriculture more sustainable

Respect for the environment and food security are at the heart of a debate in Murcia, Spain, today (May 19), organised by the company Probelte Fito.

Respect for the environment and food security are at the heart of a debate in Murcia, Spain, today (May 19), organised by the company Probelte Fito.

Under the title ‘Moving towards sustainable agriculture for healthy food’ this public forum will also share news of innovation in the field of plant protection and see experts share the latest in biotechnology and the development of low risk products, all with the aim of promoting progress towards use of increasingly ecological and sustainable agricultural products.

Specific topics covered will include current challenges in the plant protection sector from the point of view of consumers, the regulatory framework, technical requirements and farmers’ needs.

Probelte Fito is a company that promotes the reasonable use of products for plant nutrition and health in the pursuit of the sustainable production of safe, abundant and affordable quality food.

For more information: www.foroprobelte.es

 

 

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Gruventa and Agro Marketing champion internationalisation of stone fruit

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Murcia-based fruit and vegetable producer and exporter Gruventa combined forces with the Agro Marketing firm to hold the recent Stone Fruit Congress, which took place  March 8-9 in Murcia.

Gruventa managing director Fermín Sánchez Navarro said the companies collaborated to promote the event, which he said is a powerful platform to champion “the strength of stone fruit from Murcia, and wider Spain, in terms of quality and food safety.”

Sánchez Navarro said the congress provided “an ideal showcase to disseminate and publicise the extraordinary organoleptic and nutritional properties of Spanish stone fruit,” adding that it is “a top priority to address other issues of great interest to stone fruit sector, such as the communication, promotion, marketing, supply management and, especially, efforts to create an interprofessional organisation for stone fruit in Spain.

Gruventa sells over 35,000 tons of fruit and vegetables to more than 40 countries around the world, through a dozen large retail chains. The company also distributes more than 25 items from more than 20 producer partners from throughout Spain.