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Study finds Ecuador’s banana sector to be sustainable

Study finds Ecuador’s banana sector to be sustainable
© Eurofresh Distribution


Proof has arrived to support the Ecuadorean banana sector’s claim to be economically and socially sustainable. An 18-month study conducted by the University of California Davis, funded by producers and exporters, focused on the social, political, financial and environmental aspects of production. 

The results show that 70% of farms were free from child labour, provided healthcare for employees and a competitive salary. Leónidas Estrada, president of Agroban, “One of the criteria for supplying the European market today is that workers are paid a living wage.”

The study also found that Ecuador’s banana sector uses lower amounts of chemicals than other producing countries thanks to its climate and geographical location. However, as producer and former Agroban president Gustavo Marún said, the study revealed several areas where the industry could improve, such as providing more jobs for women who are underrepresented in the sector.

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FRUIT LOGISTICA 2021: Pressing Refresh

FRUIT LOGISTICA 2021: Pressing Refresh


The leading trade fair for the global fruit tradeoffers a special report about the impact of the coronavirus crisis on the fresh produce industry.

Berlin, 17 June 2020 – As part of its continued commitment to supporting the international fruit and vegetable business, FRUIT LOGISTICA is making a special report about the impact of the coronavirus crisis on the fresh produce industry freely available to all.

Published by Fruitnet Media International, Pressing Refresh, sponsored by FRUIT LOGISTICA, explains how the coronavirus pandemic has affected fresh fruit and vegetable supply, distribution, marketing and purchasing behaviour in the world’s major consumer markets.

Combining analysis from key players in the fresh produce industry with expert insight from Fruitnet’s international team of experts, this 32-page report includes news, comments and analysis of three key areas – markets, supply and logistics.

“As the industry tries to make sense of what’s been happening during the recent pandemic, we are delighted that FRUIT LOGISTICA has allowed us to make some of our in-depth research and analysis available for free,” comments report author Mike Knowles. “This report illustrates how Covid-19 has changed the fruit and veg business, and what to expect in the months ahead.”

Follow the link to Fruit Logisitica website to find an Executive Summary to download (free of charge).

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Mercabarna publishes 2nd Sustainability Report

Mercabarna publishes 2nd Sustainability Report

The “food city” ratifies its commitment to guarantee economic, environmental and social sustainability.

Mercabarna continues to deepen its most social commitments and has published for the second consecutive year a Sustainability Report. The report analyses the impact of the activity of the central food market on its economic, social and environmental environment. This makes Mercabarna a pioneer among Spanish wholesale markets for its development based on sustainability criteria.

In drawing up the report, Mercabarna followed the indicators established by the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) – the reference institution in terms of sustainability reports endorsed by the United Nations (UN). This transparency exercise details Mercabarna’s strategic objectives, the actions that are carried out and the challenges presented, which are aligned with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of the UN 2030 Agenda.

In accordance with the SDGs, Mercabarna’s main corporate social responsibility actions have been articulated in terms of six aspects: Competitiveness and Employment, Fight against food waste, Healthy food, Environmental responsibility and Solidarity partnerships.

Labour market: 74% of the trained students find work

In 2018, Mercabarna gave 17 occupational training courses (butchery, fishmonger, greengrocer, florist, international trade, storekeeper and forklift) in which 210 unemployed people participated. The index of labour insertion of these courses, according to the data provided by the Catalan Employment Service of Catalonia stood at 74%.

To train the workers of the 800 companies in the food court, Mercabarna organised 71 continuous education courses in which 720 professionals took part. The courses were for butchers, fishmongers, greengrocers, charcuterie, occupational risk prevention, information technology, hygiene and handling of foods and languages, among others.

As for the ‘Mercabarna Grants’ occupational program (grants to companies for the hiring of unemployed people or recent graduates, equivalent to the minimum inter-professional salary for 6 months), a total of 83 scholarships have been awarded since the beginning of the program. 4 years. 75% of the scholarship holders have continued working in the companies where they did the internship during the scholarship period, once this one is over.

Fight against waste: 1.3 million tons of food for 21,000 people

Mercabarna and the Food Bank have collaborated since 2002 so that consumable but non-marketable food reaches people in need. For this reason, in 2018, Mercabarna Food Bank distributed 1,275,000 tons of fruit and vegetables among 67 social entities, which were distributed among some 21,000 vulnerable people in Barcelona and its metropolitan area.

Promotion of a healthy diet among 12,800 children

Mercabarna promotes healthy habits and respect for the environment among children, especially among schoolchildren who participate in their educational campaigns as well as among their schools and families. During the 2017-2018 school year, 12,300 children participated in the educational programmes: ‘5 a Day’, ‘Grow with the Fish’ and ‘Flowers and Plants Every Day’.

In addition, for 3 years, Mercabarna has been organising the ‘Refresh with 5 a Day’ summer camp, aimed at vulnerable children from social organisations in Barcelona and its metropolitan area. In 2018, 467 children and 96 monitors participated in this activity.

Respect for the Environment: 76% of all waste is recycled

In 2018, a record 76% of the waste generated by the activity of the 700 companies located in Mercabarna was recycled.

Mercabarna supports the social initiatives of 29 solidarity organizations

Mercabarna has supported the initiatives of 29 social entities that share its solidarity objectives. This support has been provided through the organisation of occupational training courses and sporting events; donation of food and financial contributions.

Economic Responsibility: €10.4 million

Mercabarna carries out the responsible management of its economic resources to guarantee growth, incorporating sustainability issues as a vector of success. In 2018, the food market reached a profit figure before taxes of €10,419,618.

Main social responsibility projects

In terms of the abovementioned aspects, Mercabarna carried out various initiatives in 2018: Inauguration of the Aula del Fresco; the organisation of the Congress of the World Union of Wholesale Markets with the slogan ‘The Future Markets: Efficient and Responsible’; first Summer University, focused on ‘Sustainability in the Food Chain’; and the start of the construction of the Biomarket, the first wholesale market and organic agricultural cooperatives of Spain.


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Greenyard announces dip in sales of 1.7%

Green shoots appear for Greenyard as it sets out on road to recovery

Global market leader in fresh produce Greenyard has announced a slight dip in sales over the past twelve months. In the year ending March 31st 2018, the group’s net sales declined by 1.7% to €4.175 billion. Results were below expectations due to pricing pressure in the group’s main markets and a number of one-offs. Volumes were lost in some core fresh markets. Lower volumes led to a fall in fresh sales of 2.4%, which were also affected by an unfavourable sterling exchange rate.  Meanwhile, horticulture sales were up 20.2%, mainly thanks to the acquisition of Mykogen and favourable exchange rates.

The group’s gross operating profits (REBITDA) decreased by 3.8% to €140.2 million, mainly as a result of the aforementioned losses in the fresh category. Long Fresh continued to improve, even in difficult markets, mainly thanks to an improved product mix and increase in prices in the frozen segment. However, these improvements were largely offset by rising raw material costs that could not be passed on to customers under annual contracts. Profits in the horticulture segment were up by €1.5 million, which was somewhat offset by the postponement of the expected spring sales season in March due to the bad weather in Belgium.

Greenyard has announced that it expects REBITDA to rise by 10% over the coming year. In its statement, Greenyard said, “We remain committed to steer our organisation closer to our customers to jointly create a strategic view on fruit and vegetables in our mutual interest. By keeping our focus on creating added value in partnership with and for our growers, our retailers and our consumers, we are confident that we can make the difference in strengthening our position as a global leader in fruit and vegetables in all its forms”.