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New start for Harvest Season and garciaBallester in Asian citrus market

New start for Harvest Season and garciaBallester in Asian citrus market
Credit: Press release

An event held on 12th February in Palma del Río, Córdoba, makes official and consolidates the alliance between Harvest Season and garciaBallester. The two large companies, leaders in the business, are now united in achieving the same goal: to become leaders in the Asian citrus import market. garciaBallester’s own facilities were chosen as the ideal setting to seal the union between the two companies. 

Representatives and senior executives from both companies were present from the beginning, with garciaBallester represented by Jorge García (CEO), Jorge C. García, (management coordinator), Lucas (Asian export manager), Miguel Meliá, (GB Palma del Rio’s packhouse manager) and Stephane (sales director), and Harvest Season represented by Tony Zhang (general manager).

The event started with the reception of both parties in garciaBallester’s facilities, and later on they went out to the fields.  Once in the field, which was also in the middle of the orange season, the union between both companies was formalised. To do this, a customised pickaxe was used as a symbolic element to announce their commitment to a new era in the citrus market in Asia. Later, attendees were treated to a guided tour around garciaBallester’s facilities. 

The highlight of the event was the cutting of the opening ribbon, where Harvest Season and garciaBallester celebrated their new chapter together. They were able to share new ideas and also to answer questions from the invited press. The event demonstrated successfully how to start this new stage for Harvest Season and garciaBallester.

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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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Spain exporting more fruit, less tomatoes and lettuce

Spanish exports of fruit and vegetables were up 3.6% in volume and 3.4% in value this January compared to the last one, with a volume of 1.28 million tons and value of €1.14 million.

Spain’s orange exports lift 23% this January compared to the first month of 2014

fepex export jan figs.png
Spanish exports of fruit and vegetables were up 3.6% in volume and 3.4% in value this January compared to the last one, with a volume of 1.28 million tons and value of €1.14 million. But for vegetables alone, Spain’s exports were actually down 2% in both volume and value – to 620,219 tons and €619.4 million respectively – due to a fall in trade in the country’s main two vegetable exports: tomatoes and lettuce.

Fepex, the Spanish federation of associations of producers and exporters of fruit, vegetables, flowers and live plants, said it was concerned that both the value and volume had dropped for vegetables, “because it affects crops such as tomato and lettuce which are of major social and economic importance for the sector in Spain.”

Using Spanish government figures, Fepex estimates tomato exports were down 12.7% in volume and 6.6% in value to 136,072 tons and €152 million respectively, while lettuce was down 9.4% in volume and 2.6% in value, to 93,906 tons and €87.8 million. And while cucumber was up 11% to 98,257 tons, it was down 26% in value.

Spanish fruit exports

Fepex also reported the following export figures for this January:

  • Mandarin up 3.5% to 272 676 tons
  • Orange up 23% to 243,242 tons
  • Lemon up 12% 61,218 tons
  • Persimmon up 10% to 16,542 tons
  • Strawberry up 24% more to 8,827 tons
  • Avocado up 30% to 8,028 tons

Read Fepex press release (in Spanish)