Fruit Attraction 2021

Fruit Attraction 2021 incorporates new areas of Innovation, Research and Technology © Fruit Attraction

Madrid, 16 June 2021 – Fruit Attraction, a trade fair organised by IFEMA MADRID and FEPEX, will hold a new edition from 5 to 7 October aimed at promoting the sector’s competitiveness and growth. For this, and with the aim of promoting innovation, research, technology and digitisation as fundamental keys to future growth, Hall 5 will bring together the three solutions and services areas related to agricultural sector innovation: Biotech Attraction; Smart Agro and Smart Water&Energy.

Biotech, the great challenges of the horticultural and agricultural sectors

The fruit and vegetable sector faces major issues and challenges that will restrict its capacity for growth, development and competitiveness, such as the opportunities and future of plant biotechnology, its impact on the environment, on industry and society; new digital solutions that add value to the entire agri-food chain; the improvement of production in terms of productivity and sustainability; technological solutions to irrigation; and new developments in energy efficiency aimed at fruit and vegetable farms, among others.

Likewise, agriculture faces new challenges presented by demographic growth, which will increase demand for raw materials, by preferences in consumption, by environmental and legal aspects, and by issues related to the globalisation of the economy. Overcoming these challenges requires an increase in the efficiency (higher productivity with fewer inputs), quality (nutritional, organoleptic) and sustainability (lower environmental impact, reuse of waste, etc.) of agriculture that can only be achieved through the application of new technological developments.

The knowledge generated in applied Plant Biology offers a set of strategic technologies (development of new plant varieties, bioinformatics, genomic editing techniques, agrobiologicals for plant nutrition and protection, revaluation of waste and circular economy, new plant sources for obtaining protein, bioproducts of plant origin with industrial, cosmetic, pharmaceutical, plant biofactories, etc., applications that will make it possible to get to grips with global challenges (productivity, sustainability, quality) faced by the agri-food sector.

Driven by this reality, Fruit Attraction 2021, with the collaboration of BIOVEGEN, is including the plant innovation hub in its BIOTECH ATTRACTION programme, aimed at bringing together and promoting technological innovation and innovation-based business development opportunities. A new specialised area, aimed at companies dedicated to research and technological development of plant genomics.

Smart Agro, precision technological solutions

Likewise, Smart Agro will once again be the specialised space for technology solutions companies in precision agriculture, focused on showing the latest developments in management products for agri-food companies and advanced mobility and analytics solutions, promoting agro-industrial transformation.

Fruit Attraction will also have the collaboration of AgroTech ESPAÑA, which aims to encourage and create business opportunities for agrotech. To this end, different initiatives, such as ´AgroTech Tours´, will be launched, which will allow producers and other agents in the sector to be put in contact with those ‘Techs’ that propose specific solutions. In short, to generate encounters between supply and demand.

Smart Water & Energy, water and renewable technologies

Fruit Attraction incorporates, also as a novelty, Smart Water & Energy, which is oriented to water and renewable technologies in the agri-food sector. Thus, SMART WATER is a new area with the goal of addressing the technological transformation of water in horticulture for the best and most efficient use of water and to improve crop productivity.   It is aimed at professional horticultural producers, and managers and technical directors of companies that install irrigation systems and are interested in learning about new irrigation technologies. In this space, participating exhibitors will present equipment, products and services that incorporate the latest technological solutions in irrigation that are dedicated to smart water management.

In addition, renewable energy on fruit and vegetable farms is a valuable opportunity for farmers to reduce costs and emissions. SMART ENERGY was created with the aim of promoting the transformation of energy use in the sector. It is aimed at fruit and vegetable producers, agriculture and energy consultants, installation companies, engineering companies, and technicians from public bodies and administrations. Leading companies in the renewable energy sector linked to agriculture will participate in this exhibition area; suppliers of renewable energy, electricity, green hydrogen, battery storage, bioenergy, solar pumping, self-supply, financing, etc., which will showcase all the new developments in energy efficiency aimed at fruit and vegetable farms.

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Spain’s fresh produce sector steps up to the plate

Spain’s fresh produce sector steps up to the plate

The Spanish fruit and vegetable industry is playing a leading role in attenuating the impact of the Coronavirus outbreak. Across Europe, demand has been rocketing for certain products, and, according to Paco Borrás, chairman of the Export Committee at Freshfel and former commercial director of Anecoop, fruit and vegetable sales in Spain are considerably higher than normal – probably due to their renowned health benefits. To meet this demand, in the past two weeks, suppliers have been speeding up processes to be able to deliver up to 30% higher volumes; even so, this has still not been sufficient to last the entire day. Southern Spain’s growing regions have so far not been as affected as other parts of the country by the virus and have therefore been able to maintain a steady flow of supplies to the domestic market.

However, the restrictions on the movement of people are likely to jeopardise this state of affairs. While field and packhouse workers are still allowed to go to work, there are likely to be shortfalls in the workforce as family members fall sick or parents are required to stay home to look after children. Moreover, if the conditions worsen, packhouse employees may be reluctant to expose themselves to potentially becoming infected from colleagues.

Companies say that they are taking all the necessary precautions to minimise the risk of infection. These measures will involve greater costs in the operations. Also, exports to Asia have encountered logistical problems as have shipments to other parts of Europe, with delays at the borders of Italy, Austria, the Czech Republic and Slovakia. This means fewer trucks available for deliveries within Spain. Combined with the likely drop-off in demand for fruits and vegetables in the next weeks, companies are going to have to bear a great deal of uncertainty and financial cost. 

Spain’s National Federation of Transport Associations (Fenadismer) calls for exporters to cover the direct and indirect costs of the empty return. The additional expenses just for of diesel for a 2,000 km trip can mean €1,000 more per truck. Spain has 130,000 vehicles dedicated to international transport, making a combined average of 150,000 weekly trips.

Borrás notes that the key role being played by the sector in this critical moment will no doubt be remembered society at large.

 

 

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Algeciras Port improves its connectivity with Latin America

Credit: Algeciras Port

 

Handling 4.7 million tons or 37% of the Spanish horticultural cargoes, Algeciras Bay Port became one of the principal ports for fruit & vegetables operators  

 

The Port of Algeciras is the largest Mediterranean port for all cargo traffic and the largest Spanish port. It is located in the Strait of Gibraltar, a transit way for 9 out of 20 principal maritime routes. Thanks to the strategic geographical location of Algeciras Port, it operates as the distribution centre for Southern Europe, Mediterranean countries and Northern Africa.

“Our current connectivity along with our competitive transit times make Algeciras the natural gateway for reefer cargo coming from Latin America and heading to South Europe, North Africa and Med” says J. Javier Lopez, Head of commercial division. “We connect directly with more than 200 ports, it takes just 7 days to come from Natal (North Brazil) and we are one hour away from Morocco by RORO and feeder service”

As a novelty in 2019, Algeciras has improved its transit times for import flows coming from some of the main producing countries in Latin America as Costa Rica, Peru, Mexico and Dominican Republic.

A wide range of services
offered by the Port community companies

With 109,4 million tons of total cargo (2019), the Port of Algeciras ranks the fourth among top EU ports. “We handle nearly 380,000 TEUS of import- export full cargo, some 56,000 TEUS of them are reefers, which is very important for us,” informs Mr. Lopez. “Furthermore, our Port community is highly specialised in reefer cargo, and the largest fruit exporters from South America keep trusting in our port capabilities.”  The current cold storage capacity in the port and surrounding area exceeds 30,000 pallets, and a wide range of services for refrigerated and frozen goods is offered. These companies cover load, storage, cargo consolidation and distribution to customer centers. They also handle custom office paperwork or quality controls, providing an extra value throughout the import and export process. Thanks to the unique border inspection post open for 24 hours 365 days a year, perishable commodities are released within 24 hours upon arrival. At present, most part of the Spanish horticultural cargoes (4.7 million tons or 37%) is carried out through Algeciras Bay Port.

The Port of Algeciras has 2 terminals: APMT and TTI-Algeciras, which was the first semiautomatic terminal in South Europe. They jointly fulfil 5.000 reefer connexions. New container services from Latin America and South Africa have emerged, ship capacity has increased, growing yearly around 10%, and the Port has been optimizing and automatizing all the logistic processes to become more efficient yet. Thanks to constant investment into its infrastructure, the Port of Algeciras can attend to the megaships (+23,000 TEUS) of the three shipping Alliances: 2M, The Alliance and Ocean Alliance.

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Spanish stone fruit sector under immense pressure

Spanish stone fruit sector under immense pressure, credit. Alexandra Sautois, Eurofresh Distribution
© Alexandra Sautois, Eurofresh Distribution

 

Spain’s Afrucat stone fruit committee has agreed an Emergency Plan to protect the sector through a range of short- and long-term measures, including a request to the Ministry for a start plan consisting of 10,000 hectares throughout the Spain in Catalonia, Aragon, Murcia and Extremadura. This plan would remove about 300 million kilos of peaches and nectarines from the European market (25% of which is controlled by Spanish production). According to the director general of Afrucat, Manel Simon, this measure could be enough to reverse the negative trend that has seen the sector hit by a series of losses since the end of summer 2014 when the Russian veto began.

The association estimates that Cataluña’s stone fruit sector alone will lose €90 million this campaign and expects the Spanish ministry to invest €50 million in the aforementioned plan. Sisco Palau, president of the Afrucat Stone Fruit Committee highlights the need to apply the measures “in a sector that has been heavily affected by losing three consecutive campaigns and suffering cost increases.” Palau insists on the importance of uniting the entire sector (organisations and unions) and extending this union to other state organisations.

Other measures proposed include investments in reducing production and plant costs with the implementation of existing innovations, as well as campaigns for promoting consumption and the opening of new markets for Spanish fruit.

The 2019 stone fruit campaign was marked by a full European production of peach and nectarine, with a 10% increase in volumes. The calibres were fair and there was a saturation of markets caused by the high amount of stone fruit in the traditional European markets due to the ongoing Russian veto.

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Spain’s citrus sales slow down

Spain’s citrus sales slow down, Source: Observatorio de Precios y Mercados (Andalucia)

The Christmas holidays led to a reduction in sales of citrus in Spain, although the arrival of low temperatures and the end of the Christmas period should prompt an upturn. The average prices of citrus fruits in the 2019/20 campaign are higher than those registered in the previous campaign, in which the prices were especially low. The upward trend in the prices generally corresponds to product varieties with a higher commercial value in the market.

A decrease in average yield per hectare has been registered in the current campaign. Average orange prices remained stable at 0.19 / kg in week 52 of 2019 and week 1 of 2020, decreasing by 5% with respect to the average value of orange in week 51 of 2019 (€0.2 / kg) and 9.5% compared to week 50 (€0.21 / kg).

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Alimentaria BCN to focus on key production & consumption trends

Alimentaria BCN to focus on key production & consumption trends

Alimentaria BCN, the International Food, Beverages and Food Service Trade Show, will include the new Alimentaria Trends space in its new edition, a meeting point for new developments and innovation arising in the food industry. Taking place April 20-23 (2020) at the Barcelona Fira’s Gran Via venue, it will occupy 4,500 m2 and host around 400 exhibitors organised around five themed areas: Fine Foods (gourmet products), Organic Foods (organic production), Free From (allergens free), Halal Foods (Halal production) and Functional Foods (functional). Managing director Jose Antonio Valls, said, “Alimentaria Trends brings together all products that are no longer market niches and have become categories in themselves.” Reflecting the growing popularity of organic food, the Organic Foods space will occupy more than 1,400 m2 of exhibition space.

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Spanish agriculture counts cost of Storm Gloria

Spanish agriculture counts cost of Storm Gloria, Credit: Emilio Morenatti, AccuWeather
© Emilio Morenatti, AccuWeather

 

Spanish producers are counting the cost of a deadly weather front that struck last week. Storm Gloria is reported to have wreaked the worst damage on citrus and vegetable production along the country’s eastern coast between Barcelona and Murcia, with losses estimated to run to €46 million.

Winds reaching over 110km per hour left a lot of fruit on the ground. Valencian agricultural association Ava-Asaja reported many farms still being under water days later, raising fears about the prospects for the second half of the campaign if conditions persist. Some flooded fields are expected to see whole crops wiped out. In recently planted potato and onions fields, farmers will be forced to replant. In terms of vegetables, cauliflower, broccoli, artichokes and lettuce are among the worst affected crops. 

One benefit of the heavy rains is that the region’s reservoirs have been replenished, easing water restrictions. The Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food said in a statement on Wednesday that all production losses from Gloria would be covered by the National Agrarian Insurance Plan. This includes losses to next year’s harvest resulting from damage to farms.

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Central Dica specialises in large-scale distribution and exports by air

Central Dica specialises in large-scale distribution and exports by air

Lorenzo Carrasco, marketing manager of Central Dica, an importer and marketer of fruits and vegetables, says that 2019 was a good year for the firm’s growth and its continued specialisation in imported products, such as the Ercolina pear from Chile, mango, avocado, and grapes. Central Dica always looks for products with a twist to their quality and taste. The vehicle for current and future growth is La Pequeña Holanda SCA, with its conventional and organic production on over 260 hectares, both for domestic and export customers. The company continues to develop its marketing in all distribution channels: wholesale, retail, food service, online, export and, of course, large-scale distribution, the last of which is where growth and specialisation has been greatest in recent years. “And we will carry on working like this since, fortunately, we have the know-how and capabilities to continue growing by offering the kinds of service that few companies in our sector can match,” said Carrasco. “We continue to specialise in exports by air, a project that we started a few years ago. We’re targeting the UAE, Africa and Asia with all kinds of products of Spain origin as well as cross-docking from international origins.”

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Spain’s avocado farmers advised to choose organic

EU avocado prices to lower over the long-term

Following Spain’s avocado boom, the sector is experiencing issues which were previously encountered with other products, such as persimmon, pomegranate, and almond. The fruit’s profitability has led to a shortage of seedlings and rocketing prices. Sudden growth can be followed by saturation and price slumps. This is why agronomist with the Ministry of Agriculture, Tomás Faulí, advised producers at a recent event in Valencia to develop organic avocado to clearly differentiate the market. 

The main pests are the crystalline mite and soil fungi, such as Rosellinia and Phitóphtora, but both can be controlled with organic methods, without having to resort to chemical pesticides. This mite is less harmful than those that affect citrus and some vegetables, and can be kept at bay by favouring natural populations of phytoseids (their enemies).

 

Source: Las Provincias
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Avocado thieves strike Malaga’s producers

Avocado thieves strike Malaga’s producers, credit: Alexandra Sautois, Eurofresh Distribution
Credit: Alexandra Sautois, Eurofresh Distribution

 

 

The lucrative avocado sector is catching the eye of thieves in southern Spain. Two years ago, one farm had about 2,000 kilos of the fruit stolen during a weekend, reports El Pais. Other producers complain of 40 or 50 kilos being pinched on a daily basis. With avocados producers currently earning a record-high of about €3 per kilo, there is certainly a lot of money to be made illegally. The flourishing illegal trade is estimated to concern around 45,000 tons of annual production, worth about €120 million. Malaga is Europe’s main producer of avocado, with more than 6,500 hectares of cultivation. Its main competitor is the nearby ‘Costa Tropical’ of Granada, with another 4,000 hectares. Together with tourism, avocados constitute the lifeblood of the local economy.