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Global Berry Congress 2020 to focus on sustainability

Global Berry Congress 2020 to focus on sustainability


Rotterdam will be the venue for the Global Berry Congress on 30 March-1 April 2020, where the focus will be on the future viability of berry production, supply chains, distribution models and markets. The Global Berry Congress programme will feature presentations and discussions relating to areas in which progress is being made and shine a light on aspects that still need investment and attention.

The Global Berry Congress is the sector’s leading meeting point, offering valuable opportunities to meet and interact with industry professionals, learn about the latest berry market trends, and promote new products and services.

The 2019 event broke attendance records, with almost 600 attendees at the workshops, plenaries and field trips, learning about the latest developments in the berry industry.

TAGS: Global Berry Congress

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CIV’s strawberry Varieties at the next 2019 Global Berry Congress in Rotterdam, 25-27 March

CIV’s strawberry Varieties at the next 2019 Global Berry Congress in Rotterdam, 25-27 March

From Fruit Logistica in Berlin to the 2019 Global Berry Congress (, to be held in Rotterdam 25 – 27 March. CIV [Consorzio Italiano Vivaisti di San Giuseppe di Comacchio (Ferrara)] takes stock of its participation in the Berlin trade fair and looks forward to the next event in the Netherlands.

During an evening event at the Steigenberger Hotel in Berlin, the first CIV & Friends Meeting included the presentation the CIV Product Portfolio, featuring new apple varieties and selections for the numerous sector-operators in attendance. Then, during the usual Modi® Apple International Meeting organized by CIV, owner of the patent for the Civg198pvr apple variety and the Modì® brand under which it’s sold around the globe, our international License holders (Europe, Turkey, Serbia, United States of America, Australia, Uruguay, Chile and New Zealand) met to further develop the Modì® brand and share marketing and production best practices that fully respect environmental sustainability.  During the trade fair in Berlin, in the large, updated CIV exhibition area, President Pier Filippo Tagliani, with Variety Manager Marco Bertolazzi, Modì® Project Manager Dario Lezziero, and IP Manager Elena Piccoli met with numerous international operators interested in the latest from CIV in terms of apple, pear and strawberry varieties, which stand out largely for their ease of cultivation, high yields, longer storage and shelf life, elevated organoleptic properties, an appealing appearance, adaptability to different pedoclimates, and disease resistance (a central element in CIV’s genetic improvement programme).

“With regard to the meetings in Berlin”, stated Variety Manager Marco Bertolazzi and CIV President Pier Filippo Tagliani, “we registered a concrete interest, from some important international groups, in our selections and varieties of apples, strawberries and pears, the latter developed by the University of Bologna thanks to private investment by CIV. For the upcoming weeks and trade exhibitions, we’re committed to defining the most suitable ways to develop varieties in the markets of the interested companies in order to quickly finalize the relative strategic and operational partnership/collaboration agreements”.

As for the 2019 Global Berries Congress in Rotterdam, organised by Eurofruit in collaboration with Fruit Logistica, the conference will be entirely dedicated to berries – one of the fastest growing categories in the fruit and vegetable sector worldwide.  During the three-day event, key players in the sector from all over the world will display their latest innovations in terms of product/service, with exhibits/shows, and will tackle the most important challenges of the next five years. The global production-distribution supply chain will be fine-tuned, from research to production to sales and the end consumer.

CIV and its Northern Europe Partner (Idris Consulting Ltd – Dr. Johan Aelterman will be present at the event with their own stand to illustrate CIV’s increasing dedication to the research and development of new strawberry varieties designed to better meet the needs of a constantly-evolving market. From Northern Europe to the Mediterranean Area, CIV will enlarge its presence thanks to its well-known and widely commercially developed strawberry varieties (i.e.: Flaviapbr, Flaminiapbr, Muranopbr, Capripbr, Clerypbr, Jolypbr, Nabilapbr, etc.). Other interesting advances will also be highlighted: everbearers suitable for cold weather areas (CIVRH612pbr ANIA®, CIVRH621pbr CANTUS®) as well as more moderate to warm climates (CIVRL333pbr XANTE®), and for June-bearing varieties from north (CIVNB557pbr LYCIA®) to south (CIVS906pbr ELIDE®), which have piqued the interest of sector operators.

 “In general”, concluded CIV Variety Manager Marco Bertolazzi, “we can talk of seamless success for the CIV strawberry breeding programme, which has been active since 1984, and developed along four research lines: strawberries for temperate Mediterranean climate, continental climates, everbearers, and varieties suitable for industrial processing. The use of classic techniques and the development of new varieties that can guarantee high production of top quality fruits, along with the natural hardiness and vigour of the plants, are the CIV’s primary goals to offer the national and international markets not just quality but the best in environmental sustainability”.



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Addressing residue-free berries at the Global Berry Congress

Speaking at the recent Global Berry Congress 2018 in Rotterdam, Julien Mourrut-Salesse – Biobest’s Head of IPM and Pollination Specialists – highlighted a range of solutions to help address growing consumer demand for residue-free berries.

Held in March, this world-class event brought together leading berry growers from around the world providing an opportunity to learn, network and create new business opportunities. Julien Mourrut- Salesse was one of 40 expert speakers chosen to assess key challenges and help delegates understand the future for the industry.

“The residue-free concept challenges growers to rethink agrochemical practices,” he said. “They need to think outside the box and it requires strong knowledge of pesticide use and residues. Residue-free can mean the adoption of new technologies, the need to adapt cultural practices and generally requires improved monitoring to boost IPM use. As a result it often leads to a healthier crop and therefore a possible increased yield.”

Supporting residue-free projects in several countries, he explained that Biobest has a dedicated team helping growers meet this target with monitoring tools, a broad range of beneficial insects and mites, entomopathogenic nematodes, microbials and bumblebees as well as a stream of other innovations.

While responding to the growing challenge of the widespread strawberry pest Drosophila suzukii, he highlighted Biobest’s Droso trap and Dros’attract – which are setting the standard for detection of this pest. Many external trials proved that the combination of Biobest’s trap and attractant is the best combination available on the market.

Other products in the spotlight: Biobest’s feed supplement NutrimiteTM, which facilitates earlier predator establishment in the crop, and the patented Flying Doctors® System for the precision delivery of the biofungicide Prestop® 4B to strawberry plants.

Summing up he said; “Consumer demand for residue-free produce is growing rapidly. To benefit, growers face new challenges and expect new solutions from the crop protection industry. Through its expertise and innovations, Biobest is an ideal partner. Residue free and optimal pollination combined ensure high yields and good returns.”

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CIV innovation takes the lead with its strawberry varieties at the Rotterdam Global Berries Congress 2018

CIV GBC Bolognesi, Aelterman, Knowles

Eugenio Bolognesi: “Our varietal portfolio combines productivity, the search for quality and the best in environmental sustainability”

“The GBC-Global Berries Congress 2018 in Rotterdam proved to be an interesting international stage in both level, quality, networking for the participants, and as a moment for a professional update on the berries that are currently one of the fastest growing categories in the fruit and vegetable sector worldwide”, says Eugenio Bolognesi, CIV Director, back from the Dutch trip.

CIV – Consorzio Italiano Vivaisti in San Giuseppe di Comacchio (Ferrara) took part in the “Global Berries Congress 2018” ( both as Sponsor and as panel Speaker. Indeed, CIV manager, Eugenio Bolognesi, along with his own CIV Northern Europe Partner (Idris Consulting Ltd – Dr Johan Aelterman, during their presentation “Strawberries – Breeding Better Berries”, illustrated the history of Consorzio Italiano Vivaisti and its successes in the world of strawberry variety genetics, with a special in-depth look at the main farming techniques used in Northern Europe and the UK.

CIV strawberry variety portfolio

Muranopvr and Capripvr strawberries are among the most popular everbearers in Northern Europe; the Clerypvr strawberry leads the early segment in France/Germany/Eastern Europe and Canada, while Jolypvr is highly popular in Belgium. Along with Flaviapvr and Flaminiapvr, they are merely the jewels in the crown in the rich range of varieties offered by the CIV (, which today is garnering significant validation from both a farming and a commercial standpoint.

The Muranopvr strawberry certainly deserves a special mention: one of the leading varieties in the British market, it is particularly popular in the Netherlands, Belgium and Scandinavia as well, especially thanks to its organoleptic qualities and its high productivity. Moreover, the good adaptability to various environments confirms their versatility and flexibility, which allow producers to plan harvest well in advance. The Muranopvr is today the CIV flagship product in the everbearer category, the benchmark variety, due to the quality of the fruit, in one of the major English supermarkets.

The CIV strawberry breeding programme, which has been active since 1984, developed along four research lines: strawberries for the temperate Mediterranean climate, continental climates, everbearers, and varieties suitable for industrial processing. The use of classic techniques and the development of new varieties that can guarantee high production of top quality fruits, along with the natural hardiness and vigour of the plants, are the CIV’s primary goals to offer the national and international markets not just quality but the best in environmental sustainability.

“During the three days in Rotterdam, concludes the CIV Director Eugenio Bolognesi, CIV saw excellent feedback from the main operators in the sector, who have also highly appreciated CIV’s ever-increasing commitment to the research and development of new strawberry varieties, to satisfy every player in the supply chain, from the producer to the end user at the international level”.

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How Rotterdam’s food cluster fosters innovation, sustainability, profitability

How the Rotterdam Food Cluster is staying at the forefront of the food industry through public-private cooperation.

How the sector will make money in 30 years was the question posed by Sharon Janmaat, food cluster project manager for the City of Rotterdam, during her presentation at the first ever Amsterdam Produce Show, held last November 2-4.

“And what will we need for that in terms of innovation, circularity and digital developments?” she asked.

That is where the Rotterdam Food Cluster comes in. An initiative of the City of Rotterdam, it was set up to create room, facilitate business ideas and accelerate growth so the area can maintain its leading position in food amidst an industry changing under the influence of technological innovation and more awareness of the depletion of natural resources. “We want to move towards a sustainable and resilient economic future,” Janmaat said.

Rotterdam’s unique location is ideal for a cluster

The region has a very high concentration of relevant businesses, research institutions and universities. It is one of few places in the world where all the links in the food chain are within a 30 km radius. About 6,100 food companies – including leading multinational companies such as Unilever, Rijk Zwaan and DSM- are located in this area, employing about 43,000 people and generating annual turnover of over €24 billion.

It is also home to the Port of Rotterdam, the world’s second largest importer of fresh food, Europe’s largest deep sea port and the gateway to over 500 million people. All this combined makes for the world’s leading food production area, Janmaat said. Now the challenge is to maintain that lead in the global food economy in the current economic climate.

The proximity of so many companies in the same chain creates a base for forming clusters and forging both physical and relational links between those clusters. “It is about gaining knowledge and participating in networks,” said Janmaat. “To be able to keep doing what we stand for and for the chain to keep the influence it already has, we are creating the most innovative world food park that is resilient, sustainable, circular as well as profitable.”

Collective innovations

Innovation will be the key to maintain the sector’s success. Janmaat observes that the sector is successful but mainly innovates at a company level. “We want to initiate innovation projects that require more collectivity,” she said.

As a cluster, the companies are able to work together to estimate and share risks effectively, and to make investments in joint benefits. The City of Rotterdam aims to be a trustworthy partner in this process. Janmaat is employed by the city but transcends municipality borders to initiate, connect and create conditions for innovation in the food chain within the region against the backdrop of what is a one-off public-private cooperation.

Data sharing

The focus of the region is on four core themes, one of which is in the field of smart logistics. This industry is very data driven and Janmaat observes that currently a lot of data is not shared. She is convinced data sharing will lead to more sustainable transport as well as greater profitability.

However many companies are reluctant to share data due to the sensitivity of the information it reveals. Data encryption can be a solution. “We are investigating how we can do that and how we can help those companies to evolve towards smart logistics,” Janmaat said. The aim is to get the commitment of stakeholders that are willing to invest in a pilot project.

Another area that has to deal with sensitive information and data sharing is human capital. The Rotterdam Food Cluster seeks to create a human capital pool that combines flexibility and a steady workforce.

Janmaat sees that many of the large flexible workforce that are employed by food companies often have very little connection to the company or the industry they are working in.

“We are investigating new ways of contracting that create a steady pool of people who have the network, knowledge and experience to add value to the company that employs them,” Janmaat said.

Connected to this field of interest work needs to be done on encryption, so companies can safely access the pool, a legal base for the flexible use of the steady pool and a human resource management system that will enable education.

Tennis balls that last longer & other ways to use waste

The depletion of natural resources does make the industry look in different ways and brings about a search for new business models. Sometimes those can be found in the valorisation of waste flows. Such as the producer of tennis balls who found that the balls can be used 10 times longer if they are exposed to a certain biogas that is derived from fresh waste flows. The main goals for the region now are to identify the waste flows and invest in new technology that is needed to unlock the value of fresh waste.

Although sustainable energy has been on the agenda for quite some time already and the sector is aware that investments in sustainable energy are needed, the focus of the Rotterdam Food Cluster is on the collectivity in this area too. “We seek to create a structure in which food companies can be shareholder and not only customers,” said Janmaat. “This way the production of sustainable energy can become part of their business model.” This requires investigation into energy production and creating a legal basis for stakeholders to become shareholders.

Although the initiative is firmly underway and the lines are plotted, a lot of work remains to be done. And that is the key to the Rotterdam Food Cluster. “We aim to encourage working together,” Janmaat said.

Image: Sharon Janmaat during her presentation at the Amsterdam Produce Show

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AGRO Merchants Group expands Rotterdam facility

AGRO Merchants Group has recently completed a significant expansion in Rotterdam which adds 6,000 pallet positions and brings greater capacity and services to customers in the fresh produce sector.

AGRO Merchants Group, a provider of cold storage and logistics solutions, has announced a significant expansion in Rotterdam which it says will reinforce its services to the fresh produce sector.

In a press release, it said ADB Cool Company, part of AGRO Merchants Group since 2015, officially opened its new facility expansion in October 2016.

“The expansion adds 13 loading bays and 6,000 pallet positions, bringing the site to a capacity of 23,198 pallet positions. This expansion enhances the company’s repacking capabilities through a substantial investment in new facilities, equipment and technology.

“The facility is strategically located near the Port of Rotterdam, which is the busiest port in Europe with an annual throughput of approximately 465 million tons.”

ADB managing director Alex de Brujin said the expanded facilities will allow the company to “further support the fresh produce sector and meet the increasing demands of our clients for storage, packing, ripening and all the other services we offer.”

Other recently completed AGRO Merchants projects include facility expansions in Spain at the Port of Algeciras and in Vineland, NJ serving the Port of Philadelphia and new greenfield sites in Houston, Texas, and Savannah, Georgia.

AGRO Merchants Group owns and operates 55 facilities in 8 countries across North America, Latin America and Europe, with more than 750,000 m2 of cold storage.

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EU Fresh Info Forum showcases latest technology

The EU Fresh Info Forum started yesterday (Nov 29) with visits to an urban farm in Rotterdam, a logistics distribution centre (Hillfresh, built 7 years ago, 7,000 palet capacity) and an orchid farm (9ha of glasshouse, 70,000 plants a week) that are all at the cutting edge in their field of activity.

The EU Fresh Info Forum started yesterday (Nov 29) with visits to an urban farm in Rotterdam, a logistics distribution centre (Hillfresh, built 7 years ago, 7,000 palet capacity) and an orchid farm (9ha of glasshouse, 70,000 plants a week) that are all at the cutting edge in their field of activity.

Today follows with presentations on the most advanced applications of technology in the fresh produce industry, from the greenhouse to the consumer.

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2% incorrect = 100% wrong

The 3rd EU FRESH INFO Forum & Roundtable takes place November 29-30 aboard SS Rotterdam in Rotterdam, The Netherlands.

Delivering correct product information presents a number of significant challenges for the fresh produce sector such as high circulation speed, a wide variety of products and the large number of variations in product information.

Nevertheless, it is this very sector that has become aware of the importance of data quality.

As Kees de Kat says, “We cannot afford to make any mistakes.”

He is CEO of Royal Fruitmasters, a co-op that processes and markets 200 million kg of Dutch fruit and in his previous role was responsible for buying and merchandising at retailer Super de Boer, so he knows his way around in the world of retail.

“Product information leads to maximum efficiency in the entire chain. Or to put it differently, incorrect information leads to unnecessary costs of failure. In addition, product information is of crucial importance for realizing maximum relevant transparency. In a digitalizing world, accurate information is needed for people to trust the product,” he said.

In the fresh produce industry, product information requires extra care. “We deliver a natural product, not a standard factory product. For the latter, product specifications are relatively easy to determine, but this is not the case with fresh produce. Nature decides the quality of a product and also the grower’s assessment plays an important role. Our challenge lies in turning these variables into relevant data.“

As De Kat indicated, exchange of product information is relevant for the entire chain. The importance for those links at the end of the chain is irrefutable. “In retail, efficiency plays a crucial role. When there are 20.000 products within your product range, you have to think of clever ways to limit human error. Imagine a retailer and a brewer launching a discount campaign together. One tiny deviation in crate measurements could lead to the need for several extra trucks.”

In the fresh produce sector, product information plays an important part at the beginning of the chain. For instance, the developments in precision farming allow us to determine how many and which nutrients to use for each cauliflower. With visual techniques, fruit growers can determine which apples should be picked and which ones should continue to ripen. “When the impact of technology increases, so does the importance of data. Mind you, I am referring to relevant data: data that leads to increased efficiency or more value for all links in the chain.”

Last year’s forum

Not a Dutch affair

De Kat underlines the statement that data quality is just as important as product quality. “Just look at the importance of information about nutritional value or allergies. We cannot afford to make any mistakes in that area.”

The international character of the fresh produce sector also plays a crucial part. More than eighty per cent of all Dutch fresh produce is used for export. “Standardisation regarding product information is important, not just on a Dutch level. Worldwide standards are imperative for our sector. Therefore, the Dutch fresh produce sector has created its own platform (Frug I Com) to safeguard international standards and they work in close collaboration with GS1 Nederland. Standardisation is not a Dutch affair any more but as a nation we can still take on a leading role”.

Take further steps

As Frug I Com Board Member and member of GS1 Nederland’s Business Council foodstuffs, Kees de Kat has been closely involved with the development of standards in the fresh produce sector. “Of course, at Fruitmasters, we try to connect to the available standards as much as possible. We are also working on the implementation of a new ERP-system, which we can use to take further steps regarding data quality. For instance, the workflow can be restructured, allowing for an automatic request to be sent to one department to check product details, right after they are entered in another department.”

At Fruitmasters, data management falls under the responsibility of supply chain management. “After I started working at Fruitmasters in 2011, I immediately set up a department for supply chain management. This discipline not only works together with other departments in an integrated way, but also carries out the task to encourage cooperation within the supply chain. The exchange of product information is part of this.”

100% wrong

De Kat is a strong proponent of DatakwaliTijd 2.0, the program launched by GS1 to improve data quality. “Having the right product information is very important. Even two per cent incorrect information means one hundred per cent wrong. Naturally, data quality remains high on the agenda at Fruitmasters. It makes no difference whether it is data from one of our own brands, such as the Kanzi apple or the Migo pear, or one of the products made under private label by Fruitmasters: data should always be correct. “Of course, some customers are more demanding than others, but we always try to live up to the highest standards.”

Seize the opportunities!

Kees de Kat: “It is our challenge as an industry to translate future developments into concrete actions for modern-day practice. Now is a good time to start working on that. There are plenty of opportunities in this area. Seize them!”. You can start by visiting the special GS1 Nederland data quality track at the 3rd EU Fresh Info Forum in Rotterdam. Register at

The 3rd EU FRESH INFO Forum & Roundtable takes place November 29-30 aboard SS Rotterdam in Rotterdam, The Netherlands.

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Learn how the fresh produce game is changing – EU Fresh Info Forum & Roundtable

The 3rd EU Fresh Info Forum & Roundtable takes place aboard the SS Rotterdam November 29-30 in Rotterdam.

Information technology is changing all industries so how is it changing the game in fresh produce? That question will be the focus of the 3rd EU Fresh Info Forum & Roundtable, taking place aboard the SS Rotterdam November 29-30 in Rotterdam.

The most relevant aspects of information management, information standardisation, and information technology and development in relation to fresh produce will be covered at the event, which is organised by Frug I Com in collaboration with GS1 in Europe, the International Federation for Produce Standards (IFPS) and the Fresh Produce Centre.

Rich plenary session programme

The morning plenary session programme will start with the spotlight on the impact of the ‘Change of the Game’ on the fresh produce sector as keynote speakers highlight the likely effects not just on the customer but across the entire supply chain.

Six key themes will be addressed in breakout sessions:

  • Data quality – how it is essential for fresh produce supply for retail,
  • Farm data – covering why more and more data from farms is needed in the supply chain and including results from the Farm Digital Research & Innovation Program,
  • ​Technovation – an update on major developments such as the entry of drones, robots and sensors in the sector,
  • Logistics – a glance into the future of logistics,
  • Fact-driven – covering how big data is changing the decision making process in fresh produce and why data should be the oil of a company.  
  • Capability to change – the ability to harness new technology demands readiness to change business processes and ability to overcome the fear of the unknown so this session pays special attention to the process of change and the people who have to implement it.

Game over?

In the session ‘Trendz! Onto 2030 the impact on the fresh game’, renowned speaker Richard van Hooijdonk will share a glimpse of future trends and the impact on fruit and vegetables. Participants will be left pondering whether they should do something now or need to wait.

Fresh technology tour

A special tour is planned for November 29 to show foreign visitors the most cutting edge Dutch horticulture companies. It will include a visit to the Urban Farm De Schilde, where hydroponic and aquaponic cultivation takes place on the roof of a disused office, and the chance to learn about the latest developments in glasshouse logistics through a visit to Ter Laak Orchids, where every orchid has its own RFID chip.

Fresh Produce Centre management dinner
November 29 is also the date of the management dinner being held as part of the EU Forum. At the dinner, the CEOs of companies which are Fresh Produce Centre members will discuss the ‘Change of the Game’ and in particular why the digital transformation of fresh produce company management is essential for the next generation of fresh produce.

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