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Colombia works to increase sustainable Hass avocado production

Colombia works to increase sustainable Hass avocado production

Colombian crops with international certifications—such as the Rainforest Alliance seal, which guarantees sustainable environmental and social practices—increased 315% in just one year.

In 2019, Colombia closed one of its best years as a global supplier of Hass avocados, with over 1,000 hectares bearing an international seal representing sustainable environmental and social practices.

In addition to increasing 2019 export sales to the United States and the European Union by 434% and 34% respectively, Colombia sent its first containers to Japan and is awaiting entry into the South Korean market and the first shipment to China.

“Internationalization has a positive effect on Colombian products because it promotes competitiveness and the adoption of best practices; the Hass avocado is one of the best examples. As a result of exporting, more companies now realize the importance of ensuring that their impact on communities and the environment is positive. This fruit in particular is one of the main products of focus in order to build a more sustainable country,” stated Flavia Santoro, president of ProColombia—the government agency that promotes non-mining and non-energy exports.

According to figures from NaturaCert—an organization that offers verification and certification services to ensure that sustainable Colombian agricultural products meet national and international standards—20,000 hectares of avocados were certified with the Rainforest Alliance seal worldwide in 2019, with Colombia showing one of the largest increases.

“Colombian Hass avocado certifications have been increasing at a very rapid rate,” stated NaturaCert Executive Director Sandra Restrepo. “This confirms that companies in this sector are increasingly committed to carrying out sustainable processes. The Rainforest Alliance certified 241 hectares in Colombia in 2018, and at the close of 2019, almost 1,000 hectares had been certified. Likewise, in 2019, GLOBALG.A.P. registered 73 Colombian farms, with 952 certified hectares in total,” she added.

Restrepo explained that there is great potential to increase sustainability certifications for avocados in the coming years, given the commitment shown by businesses as well as the demands of markets such as the United States and Europe regarding environmental and social sustainability, as well as food safety.

Moreover, Jorge Enrique Restrepo—the executive director of Corpohass, a union of Colombian Hass avocado producers and exporters—stated, “We have held several informational sessions about standards and certifications, such as GLOBALG.A.P. and the Rainforest Alliance, for producers in various Colombian departments. The aim of these sessions is to create awareness and transfer knowledge regarding the requirements demanded by the world’s leading markets.”

The Corpohass director added, “So far, almost 100% of Colombian avocado crops have been planted where forests have not existed for many years, expanding into pastures formerly used for raising and fattening cattle.”

The GLOBALG.A.P. certification refers to food safety and regulation of chemicals in the fruit.  On the other hand, the Rainforest Alliance seal considers staff recruitment, as well as social and environmental standards, assuring deforestation-free practices and no water or soil contamination. Parallelly, SMETA certifications focus on ethical business practices, while the SPRING seal focuses on sustainable water management.

Leonardo Ferrer Narváez, GLOBALG.A.P. Technical Key Account Manager for Colombia, stated, “There are currently about 700 avocado farms certified in GLOBALG.A.P., an increase of 30% from 2018 to 2019. This will surely continue to grow, because international markets such as Europe and the United States demand avocado production that includes sustainable practices and these certifications. In addition, Colombia’s fertile land requires few irrigation systems, and it has a small ecological footprint due to tree planting.”

Additionally, company representatives say that these certifications have become guarantees for accessing better markets. Among them is Ricardo Mejia Hernandez, general manager of Fruty Green SAS. His company was certified by GLOBALG.A.P. and the Rainforest Alliance for both its crops and packing facility in Antioquia and Risaralda.

“Apart from quality assurance, these certifications have become an important differentiating item, because they offer the possibility of selling avocados in more markets. In our case, we were able to enter very demanding supermarkets in England and Germany thanks to these certification seals. In addition, the benefits include producing cleaner fruit with more rigorous agrochemical regulations and heightened awareness about caring for the environment, including trees, bodies of water, and wildlife,” Mejia Hernandez explained.

Luis Guillermo Rangel—general manager of Agrícola Ocoa Colombia S.A.S., a company that receives Chilean foreign investment—stated, “Our crops in Antioquia have GLOBALG.A.P. and Rainforest Alliance certifications, which have been quite important in meeting the demands and standards of buyers from the United States and Germany. This gives us an advantage and ensures our compliance with safety, environmental, and labor protocols for our employees.” Rangel added that the certifications will assist them in reaching Japan, China, Argentina, and Canada.

A promising future

In 2019, Colombian avocado exports reached US $90 million, an increase of 42%, according to ProColombia’s analysis of National Department of Statistics figures. The main buyers were the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, Spain, Belgium, the United States, and France.

Although Colombia is an emerging supplier just beginning to gain prominence in international markets, the country boasts several advantages.

A ProColombia study indicates that, in addition to companies who operate with environmental and social awareness, Colombia can offer avocados essentially year-round and has ample land—approximately 633,000 hectares—that is very well-suited for cultivating the green fruit.

 

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World orange crop slumps

World orange crop slumps, Source: USDA FAS

 

The world’s total orange production for the 2019/20 season is projected to drop 11% to 47.5 million tons due to unfavourable growing conditions in Brazil, Egypt, the European Union, and Morocco, according to USDA data.  As a result, consumption, fruit for processing, and fresh exports are also expected to plummet.

Brazil’s production is forecast to fall 22% to 15.1 million tons due to weather-related problems (warm temperatures and below-average rainfall after the first two blooms and fruit set). Oranges for processing are down 3.9 million tons to 10.4 million, while fresh orange consumption is lowered to 4.7 million tons, the lowest in 4 years. 

In contrast, China’s orange crop is estimated to climb slightly to 7.3 million due to favourable climatic conditions. Imports are up 3% as consumer demand is rising for premium, high-quality oranges.  Egypt and South Africa are the top suppliers to China, accounting for over 70% of imports.

US production is forecast to rise for the second consecutive year, albeit only by 1% to 4.9 million tons. Consumption, exports, and fruit for processing are all expected to be up in line with the larger crop.

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Record global peach and nectarine crop in 2019

Record global peach and nectarine crop in 2019

 

Global peach and nectarine harvest is expected to set a new record of 22.3 million tons in 2019 (+10%), as orchards in China, the EU, and the US recover from the weather-hit 2018 campaign, according to USDA data. The growth in supply is expected to boost imports and exports. 

China’s harvest production is estimated to break all records, reaching 15.0 million tons (+9.7), thanks to favourable growing conditions in the Shandong province. Accordingly, exports are set to rise almost 60% to 100,000 tons, driven by higher shipments to Vietnam. Imports are also set to rise (to 28,000 tons), with arrivals from Chile and Australia, the latter having recently signed a bilateral Free Trade Agreement with China.

US production is up almost 20% to 814,000 tons, thanks to excellent conditions during critical points of the season. The larger crop will raise exports to 75,000 tons (mainly to Mexico and Canada), while imports are expected to fall, due to lower shipments from Chile.

A large EU crop is expected, with output up 7% to 4.1 million tons. The increased supplies are expected to drive exports up by almost 30% to 200,000 tons, while lowering imports to 30,000 tons.

 

Source: USDA

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World’s citrus crop hits record high

Global citrus production in 2018/19 is expected to hit a record high of 101.5 million tons. This represents a year-on-year increase of 9%. Oranges account for 53.4% of the total citrus crop,​​mandarins represent 31.5%, lemons and limes contribute 8.3%, and grapefruits account for 6.7%. Fresh citrus consumption is estimated at 73.2 million tons, while citrus for processing is forecast to reach 28 million tons (of which 83.8% is oranges). World citrus exports are expected to total 10.4 million tons, with the main contributor being oranges (45.6%), followed by mandarins (26.2%), lemons and limes (20.1%), and grapefruit (8.1%). 

Orange production by country

 

Source: FEPEX

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Chile’s kiwi crop down 10-15%

Chile’s kiwi crop down 10-15%

Official forecasts for Chile’s kiwi production indicate a drop of 10-15% from last season. However, as Carlos Cruzat, president of the Kiwi Committee of Chile, said, this season’s fruit has a greater dry matter and calibre than seen in previous years. Moreover, the committee will be undertaking marketing campaigns in India and the US, focused especially on the new generations of consumers, where this healthy fruit has the greatest potential.

By weeks 15-16 2019, Chilean kiwi exports had reached 27,868 tons, 6% lower than the same week of 2018. Of the total exported, 91% were of the Hayward variety, and the remaining volume consisted of Jintao 0.9%, Summer Kiwi 3.3%, Soreli 1.1%, Dori 2.4%, Green Light 0.6%, Kiss 0.2%, and Sweet Kiwi 0.4%.

The main target market for Chilean kiwis so far this season has been the Far East, with a 30% share of total exports, followed by North America with 23%, Latin America with 21%, Russia with 9% and Europe with 13%. Almost all markets recorded growth from the same date of 2018, with the exception of Europe, which registered a 58% drop, largely due to the high volumes of Italian and Greek fruit available in the market.

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Study finds Belgian tomatoes to be “less costly” than Spanish

Small EU tomato crop drives higher prices

Belgian tomatoes found to be “less costly” than Spanish tomatoes. This is the finding of a master’s thesis carried out by Ellen Peeters, who looked into the social and economic costs of importing tomatoes. Social costs are borne by society (congestion, accidents, air pollution, noise and climate change), rather than by the consumer.  Peeters said, “When growing tomatoes in Belgium, external costs mainly consist of CO2 emissions, but these represent only 2% of the total cost. The remaining part is the production costs, which mainly consist of energy (31%) and labour (20%). Because to grow tomatoes in greenhouses in the winter in Belgium requires a lot of lighting and warmth, and that quickly increases the price of Belgian tomatoes. When tomatoes are imported from Spain, production costs are generally lower, but external costs are much higher (around 15% of the total). These costs are mainly caused by transport between Spain and Belgium: 10 cents per kilo of tomatoes when transported by truck, 1 cent per kilo of tomatoes when transported by rail.”

Peeters conclusion is that if the latest cultivation techniques are used, producing tomatoes in Belgium is cheaper than importing tomatoes by road from Spain; conversely, Spanish production is cheaper if the tomatoes are transported by rail. This is a particularly relevant finding given that 89% of Spanish goods are currently transported by road.

https://www.uantwerpen.be/nl/onderwijs/opleidingsaanbod/toegepaste-economische-wetenschappen/master/masterscriptie/import-spaanse-tomaten/

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Global lemon and lime crop up 5% and sets new record

Global lemon and lime crop up 5% and sets new record

The world’s production of lemons and limes in 2018/19 is projected to be up 5% to a  new record of 8.2 million tons, according to USDA data. Increased volumes have been recorded in Mexico, Argentina, the EU and Turkey, which should more than offset the drop in production in the US. Consumption and exports are both expected to set new records.

The world’s largest producer, Mexico, expects its lemon and lime output to rise slightly, to a record 2.6 million tons, thanks to an expansion in production area. Similarly, Argentina’s production is projected to be up 7% to 1.6 million tons, due to favourable weather conditions. Production in the EU is up 10% to 1.6 million tons, due to both favourable weather and increased area. Meanwhile, Turkey’s output is set to rocket 15% to a record 948,000 tons thanks to favourable growing conditions.  South African output is also forecast to climb, in this case by 4% to a record 480,000 tons, on the back of favourable weather and a larger production area. However, US production is expected to drop 4% to 777,000 tons due to the unfavourable weather in California. 

The largest market for lemons and limes is the EU and accounts for over two-thirds of exports.

Source: USDA 

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World’s grapefruit production climbs 4% and sets new record

South Africa’s grapefruit crop grows 4%

The world’s 2018/19 grapefruit crop is projected up 4% to a record 7 million tons, thanks to an improvement in the US crop and a bumper Chinese harvest benefitting from favourable weather and an expanded area. The world’s consumption is up 3% while exports are up 8%, thanks to the higher available supplies, according to USDA data.

Taking each country in turn, China’s grapefruit output is expected to be up 2% to a record 4.9 million tons, which will lead to record consumption and export volumes. After a disastrous weather-ravaged 2017/18 campaign, US production is projected to be 29% higher, reaching 606,000 tons. South African production is expected to increase 7% to a record 450,000 tons, while Mexican production is forecast unchanged at 445,000 tons. Turkey expects to record a record 270,000 tons of production. Although consumption is down due to weak consumer demand for the fruit, exports are expected to reach a record 200,000 tons.

Production in the EU is estimated up 4% to 112,000 tons due to a rise in area.  Consumption and export volumes are flat, while imports are expected to drop slightly due to the increase in supply.

Source: USDA

 

 

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Poland concerned about the increase in apple production

Poland concerned about the increase in apple production

There are worries in Poland that the country is becoming too dependent on apple production. Poland ranks third in terms of production area in Europe (167,000 hectares), and is the fastest growing of the EU’s main producers, with an 11% in the past five years, compared with average growth for the EU of 0.4%. Besides apples, the Polish are not ranked highly in any other fruit statistics, while its EU neighbours have all diversified their production. Jakub Olipra, an economist at Credit Agricole, believes that this could lead to a significant oversupply of the fruit in Poland. Moreover, if the price of apples on the international markets falls, then the whole sector will suffer from such overdependency on just one product.

 

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Global orange production up 9% in 2018/19

Global orange production up 9% in 2018/19

The world’s orange output for 2018/19 is expected to rise 9% to 51.8 million tons, thanks to favourable weather conditions in Brazil and the US. According to USDA data, fresh orange exports are predicted to be up 4% to 5.1 million tons. Brazil’s crop is projected up 13% to 17.8 million tons, of which 12.8 million tons is for processing (+22%). China’s output is expected to fall slightly to 7.2 million, due to unfavourable weather in Jiangxi province.  South Africa and Egypt are the top two suppliers to China, accounting for 60% of the country’s imports. After a weather-struck 2017/18, US production is forecast to bounce back in 2018/19, with a 41% increase to 5.0 million tons. EU orange production is expected to be up 4% to 6.5 million tons due to favourable conditions in Spain and Portugal during flowering and fruit set. Imports are flat, while oranges for processing and fresh consumption are both up. Egypt should set a new record of 3.4 million tons, up 10%, thanks to a larger production area and extended season. Egypt’s exports will account for around 30% of total global trade, with shipments up 60,000 tons to a record 1.6 million.  Top destinations are the EU, Russia, Saudi Arabia and Ukraine. South Africa’s production is expected to rise 5% to 1.6 million tons due to favourable weather and expanded area. South Africa’s exports account for around 25% of global orange trade and are projected to hit a record 1.3 million tons. The EU is the top export market, followed by China and Russia. Elsewhere, Mexico’s production is projected up 100,000 tons to 4.6 million, while Morocco’s crop is forecast to be up 18% to a record 1.2 million tons.

Source:USDA