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South East Asia opening up to EU produce

South East Asia 146

Over the last two years, European exports of fresh fruit and vegetables were heavily impacted by the Russian embargo, as the EU used to ship close to 40% of its exports to the Russian Federation. The latest statistics indicate that the total export volume only fell moderately, while the value of exports dropped by close to 20%. The collapse of the Russian economy also represents a major challenge for other suppliers than the EU exporters.

2 million tons of fruit imports in Indonesia and Singapore

The ban is one of the reasons exporters are reconsidering their export strategy, but not the only reason. They have ambitious plans to expand their exports, helped by the lower rate of the Euro against the dollar. In the 3 countries visited in October by the European Commissioner for Agriculture, Phil Hogan, there is a significant import trade of fruit and vegetables. China is the most important exporter and its neighbouring countries are active, importing 1.1 million tons of fruit each, mainly citrus and apples, and 1.2 million tons of vegetables, mainly onions. In 2015, trade fell by 14% as Singapore closed off imports from several countries. Imports decreased to 1 million tons, down 32%.

Over the last 5 years, exports of European produce to Singapore, Indonesia and Vietnam have been successful, almost doubling in volume, but the volume of 42,000 tons is still disappointing. Only exports to Indonesia saw growth, quadrupling to 20,000 tons. Onions take up the bulk with 17,000 tons, followed by kiwis. The market for European apples, pears and citrus remained closed.

How to abolish tax and SPS barriers The European Commission, negotiating Free Trade Agreements (FTAs) with these countries, wants to do more to support fruit & veg growers and exporters with a new export trade strategy. It helps the sector diversify its market outlets, addressing market access challenges as well. SPS barriers (Sanitary and phytosanitary measures) remain one of the most complex to remedy and tackling them is often time-consuming and costly. The Commissioners for Trade and Agriculture are moving ahead to abolish tax and SPS barriers. In October, during major agriculture fairs in Indonesia, Vietnam and Singapore, Commissioner Phil Hogan intervened with the regional authorities by presenting the main SPS barriers that the European fruit & veg sector faces when exporting to the selected countries. Lowering import duties on fruits and veg is now part of the new FTAs.

New EU policy of market diversification A new streamlined EU promotion policy for agri-food products came into force in December 2015 to help the EU diversify into these new markets, enhance competitiveness and raise awareness of high quality European products. The Commission will continue to actively promote and participate in the call for proposals for 2017 promotion projects to be launched in January 2017. Missions to these countries, which have good growth potential, are an excellent way to promote European produce and increase awareness of the high standards it meets. The rest of the responses have been provided by the dynamics and skills of EU producers and exporters to diversify markets and open up new opportunities.

This article appeared in Special Report: Asia in edition 146 of Eurofresh Distribution magazine. Read more from that edition online here.


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Zespri, T&G together targetting SE Asia

Disease threatens Italian kiwi

About one million trays of Zespri kiwifruit will be sold in Thailand, Cambodia, Myanmar and Laos in the 2016 season as the first step in a new collaboration between Zespri and T&G. That would make for a nearly 50% increase in Zespri’s Kiwifruit sales in those countries in the 2015 season.

During last week’s Fruit Logistica fair in Berlin, the companies have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) confirming their intention to work together to develop market opportunities together to grow export sales.

T&G Global chairman Professor Klaus Josef said both companies are big New Zealand horticultural exporters with strong global brands. Similarly, Zespri Chairman Peter McBride said both are major contributors to the New Zealand economy and offer premium branded products supported by innovative marketing. “This MOU formalises our intentions to look for opportunities to use our respective strengths to grow sales,” McBride said.

“This proactive collaborative marketing partnership will accelerate the growth in kiwifruit sales across a region with huge potential. T&G will develop sales programmes for Zespri Green, Zespri SunGold and T&G products in these four Southeast Asian countries, leveraging the strength of the Zespri brand and marketing strategy with T&G’s existing business expertise, distribution channels and strong product offering,” he said.

T&G branded products such as JAZZTM and ENVYTM apples also to be promoted

Lutz said T&G will open an office in Bangkok to represent and support the companies’ sales programmes. The new team will work together to grow sales of both Zespri and T&G branded products like JAZZTM and ENVYTM apples in the region, with a regional manager already appointed and key account managers appointments to follow.

In a joint press release, the companies aid the collaborative arrangement is the first of its kind to be approved by regulator Kiwifruit NZ (KNZ) and learnings from it will be used to inform future collaborative programmes.

McBride said the recent Kiwifruit Industry Strategy Project (KISP) consultation with growers heralded a change in direction for Zespri and collaborative marketing. “This has opened the way for Zespri to partner with companies which can offer strong coverage in new or developing regions for Zespri and increase returns to our growers.”

About 1.6 million trays of Zespri Kiwifruit were sold through collaborative marketing in 2015 and about 2.8 million have been provisionally approved for 2016.

About Zespri and T&G

Based in Mount Maunganui, New Zealand, Zespri is the buyer of NZ kiwifruit for export to every country with the exceptions of Australia and collaborative marketing approvals for non-Zespri varieties.

Zespri manages kiwifruit innovation and supply management, distribution management and marketing of Zespri Green, Zespri SunGold, Zespri Organic, Zespri Gold and Zespri Sweet Green Kiwifruit. Its sales revenue for 2014/15 was s of $1.57 billion.

According to the release, T&G Global Ltd is recognised as New Zealand’s leading distributor, marketer and exporter of premium fresh produce. Since 2012, BayWa AG, Munich (Germany) has been its major shareholder.

Along with partner growers, T&G grows fresh produce in over 20 countries, including pipfruit, grapes, citrus, kiwifruit, asparagus, berries, summerfruit and tomatoes. It has a network of over 253,000m2 of storage facilities in New Zealand and a global distribution network covering sales, marketing and logistics.

Photo (supplied): Zespri Chairman Peter McBride (left) and T&G Global Chairman Professor Klaus Josef (right) after signing the MOU at the 2016 Fruit Logistica in Berlin.