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Japan’s cherry crop rebounds

Japan’s cherry crop rebounds

 

Japan’s 2020/21 cherry crop is expected to recover from a difficult 2019/20 season, but unfavourable weather conditions are set to lead to a smaller peach harvest, according to FAS/Tokyo.  In 2019/20, Japan imported 4,152 tons of fresh cherries, worth US$40 million. The United States supplied 95.3% of all Japan’s cherry imports. Japan’s imports of sweet cherries are projected to increase by 1% to 4,200 tons from 2019/20 levels due to steady consumption and a recently reduced tariff for sweet cherries. Japan does not import sour cherries, and its cherry exports are negligible (approximately 1 ton).

Source: FAS/Tokyo

Japan imports no peaches and the US is the sole exporter of fresh nectarines to Japan. In 2019/20, Japan imported 186 tons of US nectarines. In light of the small shipping volumes and higher freight charges due to COVID-19-related flight reductions, FAS/Tokyo forecasts Japan’s 2020/21 imports to decrease by 14% to 160 tons.

In line with Japan’s 2014 national policy, Japan Revitalization Strategy, to increase agricultural exports to 1 trillion yen (approximately US$10 billion) by 2020, Japan has been gradually increasing fresh peach exports. Due to the higher price for Japanese peaches in foreign markets compared to Japan, Japan’s peach exports continued to increase even when peach production took a downturn in 2019/20.  In 2019/20, Japan exported 1,780 tons of peaches, worth about US$17 million. The main markets were Hong Kong (72.2%)and Taiwan (20.4%). FAS/Tokyo forecasts export volume to decrease by 15.7% to 1,500 tons in 2020/21 due to political instability in Hong Kong and high air freight charges due to COVID-19.

 

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ACN Naoussa presents premium range of peaches and nectarines

ACN Naoussa presents premium range of peaches and nectarines

 

ACN Naoussa has launched NaouGusta, the new premium line of PDO peaches and nectarines for the consumer who appreciates a high-quality product: “The NaouGusta line includes the famous Naoussa PDO peaches and nectarines, fruits carefully selected for their high quality and superior standards, characterised by their attractive and immediately recognisable packaging. These fruits are stored in our cells to preserve their taste and colouring,” said director Thanos Economou. After a promotion period with Greek retailers, the cooperative’s range of products is now mainly destined for foreign markets in Europe, the Middle East and North Africa.

Founded in 1927 when 50 producers of the Naoussa region founded one of Greece’s first cooperatives, ACN Naoussa is made up of 1,457 producers who supply over 25,000 tons of fresh fruit per year. Each associated company specialises in a particular product, including peaches and nectarines, kiwis, apricots, apples and plums.

 

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BelOrta: responsive strategies to generate value chains

BelOrta: Emmer karton 500gr pack © BELORTA
© BELORTA

 

BelOrta reacted promptly to find solutions for varieties affected by Covid-19, offering more packaging formats and consumer campaigns and continuing to increase organics and specialties.

 

Belgium’s leading vegetable auction worked hard and quickly to shift products to the retail channel that were left unsold due to the closure of the food service channel. New consumer packaging formats and in-store promotions were promptly introduced, particularly for asparagus, cucumber, and lettuce specialties like Lollo Bionda. Overall, demand for packed products rose sharply. Recycled PET punnets, which had already been successfully introduced, became the most popular. “We have seen a shift back to packaging for hygienic reasons,” said Jo Lambrecht, marketing manager at BelOrta. More sustainable solutions were also introduced, such as cardboard-based banderoles for organic vine tomato. With the rise of the snacking trend, BelOrta has accelerated its shift from plastic to carton solutions, and now offers 500g buckets of snack tomato, peppers, radish and blueberry.

 

Higher volumes of vegetables with better-quality

A survey conducted by GfK in Belgium found that 38% of consumers are eating more vegetables and less meat than they were five years ago. Indeed, retail vegetable sales increased 20% over the same period, according to Lambrecht. BelOrta, too, has seen Belgian consumers shift towards local vegetables. The GfK survey also found that 24% of consumers are eating more local vegetables, a phenomenon that has accelerated since the Covid-19 outbreak. “We have observed a growing interest in consumers looking for recipes, with a higher number of visits to our website https://www.belorta.be/keuken,” said Lambrecht. Meanwhile, BelOrta has strengthened its cooperation with public radio and TV to raise awareness of fresh fruits and vegetables and local produce. One such example is TV cooking programme Un Zeste Local, which uses BelOrta vegetables. The auction has also supported the opening of summer parks, such as with the creation of “The BelOrta Farm” vegetable corners at the Plopsaland theme parks. The goal is to educate young children by showing how vegetables are grown. Product tastings are also taking place in three parks.

 

© Eurofresh Distribution

 

BelOrta supplies the widest assortment

The Flemish Minister of Agriculture was in Borgloon for the launch of the cherry season. During the ceremony, a cheque was presented as a donation to cancer research.  The next BelOrta Product Show will be held on October 8-9, where customers worldwide are invited to come and taste all of the BelOrta products in a single location. The firm, which supplies over 50 tomato varieties, has introduced several new vegetable varieties this season, like Sopropo bitter melon, sugar snap peas, and edamame (sweet soybean). BelOrta has also launched new packaging formats, such as the 2kg cherry box, as well as other products packaged in top-seal rPET punnets. Packing capacity has been increased at the company’s Borgloon and Zellik centres, with new top-seal lines.

A major campaign to promote the consumption of peppers has been launched in France, with brochures and gifts given out to consumers at points of sale. Also, from July 1st, a TV campaign will run on FLAM to promote Belgium’s organic produce, including its fruit and vegetables. 

 

© Eurofresh Distribution

 

More berries, tomatoes and organics

The shift from strawberries to other berries continues. This has been aided by the introduction of new varieties to extend the cultivation cycle of raspberries and blueberries. BelOrta has also increased its winter production of tomato specialties, like vine tomato, beeftomatoes and Ruby Red, with 5ha more glasshouse area under light to a total area of 90 ha. The auction also proposes more winter cucumbers, in total 7ha under light. What’s more, BelOrta aims to start exporting organic produce this season. The auction now offers organic blueberries, with 25.5ha of certified plantation in production. It has also increased supplies of organic endives, cucumbers and leek.  

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CONSORFRUT: Stone fruit production and export. Between our biggest strengths

CONSORFRUT: Stone fruit production and export. Between our biggest strengths

                                                                                                                                                                                               Press release

Nectarines, flat peaches, peaches, apricots, cherries and plums are some of the most popular stone fruit products which are consumed during the summer season, starting on May lasting till September.

We, as a producer consortium based in Spain, are aware of product characteristics and releases. It is very important to us to keep developing new production methods as well as product innovations. We listen to our clients around the World in Europe, Asia, Russia, Canada, etc., and take note of consumer preferences and necessities. This is why we have developed new cherry and nectarine varieties this year. We have been able to invest in the fields and grow products that have better and different tastes, products that have even greater health benefits and that will be attractive for consumers.

We have such a responsibility during most of the production and supply chain, starting from the early stages of production that it is almost impossible for us to underestimate something so determinant as keeping relevant on the sector with new products and wider possibilities.

We are beyond excited to satisfy our clients this summer by offering them the best stone fruit goods with our brands Sunflavour, Privilege, Mephistus and La Parisienne.

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Uzbekistan’s stone fruit exports weather pandemic

Uzbekistan’s stone fruit exports weather pandemic

 

Uzbekistan is emerging as a key exporter of stone fruit. As of June 1, the central Asian country had exported 11,192 tons of apricots (worth US$10.9 million), according to the State Statistics Committee. The main markets are Kazakhstan (5,984 tons), Russia (3,600 tons) and Kyrgyzstan (1,210 tons). Meanwhile, Uzbekistan has also increased its exports of sweet cherries. Between January and April 2020, the country shipped 23,500 tons (US$48 million) of the fruit to 11 countries. These results are particularly impressive given the current pandemic. The largest markets for its sweet cherries are Kazakhstan (12,400 tons), Russia (6,700 tons), and Kyrgyzstan (4,100 tons), as well as South Korea, China, Poland, UAE, Belarus, Ukraine, Turkmenistan, and Thailand.

 

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The stone fruit season starts with high demand

The stone fruit season starts with high demand
PRESS RELEASE

 

Proposals such as the innovative slider for flat peaches or apricots, marketed by the premium fruit and vegetable brand SanLucar, have already doubled their sales in some markets such as Austria

(Valencia, Spain. 12th June, 2020) – Thanks to the warm temperatures in Central Europe in recent weeks and the growing interest of consumers in the current context in fresh products: the new stone fruit season starts with good prospects, according to the premium fruit and vegetable brand SanLucar.

“Although the weather has marked the beginning of the season, as well as the uncertainty about future consumer behavior, the outlook is in fact more than optimistic. Especially from the second week of June onwards, we expect a high and sustained demand throughout the entire season”, states Alberto Olivares, stone fruit Product Manager at SanLucar.

The company, which has a strong presence on the German and Austrian markets, is already recording high product demand. The premium brand has even doubled the sales of its innovative slider for apricots, nectarines or flat peaches. A convenient packaging to go that is becoming increasingly popular among consumers.

Cultivated in harmony with people and nature, SanLucar stone fruits grow in the best crop fields of Spain, Italy and Turkey, which allows the company to extend the season from April to September. The Group offers a product range based on a careful selection of varieties and fruit trees, with the aim of obtaining the best taste and the brand’s distinctive premium quality.

The sector copes with the coronavirus crisis

If there is one thing that makes the difference in the current stone fruit season, it is the exceptional application of measures by growers, both in the field and in the warehouses, to ensure the health and safety of their workers as well as the quality of the fruit.

SanLucar’s stone fruit Manager points out how efficiently the sector has solved the impact of Covid-19, so that the health crisis does not affect the product supply.

“The whole agricultural sector is aware of the essential activity we perform and therefore no efforts have been spared to continue responding to market demand, even under such exceptional circumstances as the present”, he concluded.

About SanLucar

SanLucar, the premium brand for fruit and vegetables, is a globally positioned enterprise with subsidiaries in Germany, Austria, Spain, Italy, Tunisia, South Africa, Ecuador, Benelux and Dubai. In 1993, the company was founded by Stephan Rötzer from Munich and employs approximately 2,800 people today, the majority of them working on the company’s own farms and in SanLucar offices on four continents. With a range of more than 100 varieties of fruits and vegetables from more than 35 countries, SanLucar is the brand with the broadest assortment in the retail trade. In line with the philosophy “Taste in harmony with people and nature”, SanLucar is a responsible player on the global fruit and vegetable market and is currently expanding into the Arab Gulf States, Russia and Canada.

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Spanish stone fruit crop to fall 15%

Spanish stone fruit crop to fall 15%

 

Spain’s 2020 stone fruit crop is set to shrink by at least 15%, according to estimates by FEPEX, with similar drops expected to be recorded in other major European producers, Italy and France. Harvesting is already well underway in the earliest region, Andalucia, with the sector’s organisation Asociafruit projecting the region’s peach and nectarine volumes will fall from 49 million tons in 2019 to 40 million tons this year. Meanwhile, Murcia expects early-season production to decline by as much as 20%, according to Apoexpa. Production is expected to pick up by mid-season. The northern regions of Aragon and Catalonia also expect a reduction in volume of around 20%, although harvesting has yet to commence in these areas. 

The fall in output is largely attributable to the shrinkage in production area, especially in Catalonia and Extremadura (-2,000ha in each region). The sector has been in crisis for several years now, especially since the implementation of the embargo on exports to Russia. The situation has certainly not been helped by the current uncertainty relating to the COVID-19 pandemic.

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EU apricot crop plummets in 2020

EU apricot crop plummets in 2020
Source: Fotolia

 

The volume of the EU’s 2020 apricot crop is set to drop by 37% as a result of heavy weather damage, including insufficient chilling hours during the winter, frosts and hail. The European Assembly of Fruit and Vegetable Producing Regions (AREFLH) forecast a crop of 401,883 tons, which is 28% lower than the average of recent years. The report said: “To find another campaign with a similar level of production, you have to go back to 2003 and 1998 with 390,000 tons and 365,000 tons respectively.” 

The EU’s leading producer, Italy, expects a huge 56% drop in its crop volume to 136,101 tons. In the country’s worst-affected region, Emilia Romagna, the volume is predicted to fall by as much as 90%. Spain’s apricot harvest is projected to be down 15% to 93,740 tons, while French production is set to fall 29% to 93,542 tons, and Greek output is likely to be down 13% to 78,500 tons, despite the increase in planted area.

The situation is compounded by disruptions to harvesting and labour logistics due to the current pandemic. The quality of the crop is expected to be good, with brix levels projected to rise in the coming weeks.

This bad news comes on the back of a 2019 apricot campaign which saw weak demand and poor prices in northern Europe.

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Murcia’s stone fruit producers report 25% jump in production costs 

Murcia’s stone fruit producers report 25% jump in production costs 

 

Producers in Spain’s Murcia region have calculated that the Coronavirus has resulted in a 25-30% increase in production costs. Proexport CEO Fernando Gómez, speaking to Efeagro, said that the reasons for the rise were greater absenteeism, a reduction in hourly productivity, higher transport costs, and the introduction of numerous safety measures.

Proexport estimates that one in ten workers did not report to work in the first month of the blockade, as they were forced to stay home with their families. Absenteeism rates have now started to drop.

Meanwhile, as Murcia’s stone fruit campaign gets underway, the number of workers is half that of past years, as producers struggle to keep costs low. Santiago Martínez, president of the Federation of Agricultural Cooperatives of Murcia (Fecoam), warned about the difficulties that will arise as the season progresses: “In May, we will reach the he peak of the stone fruit campaign and problems will arise with those fruits that cannot be processed due to a lack of staff. At that point we should start experimenting with the cold storage capacity and adopt a ‘plan B'”.

To help producers survive, proposals have included limiting working hours and persuading retailers to absorb the increased production costs, without passing them on to consumers.

 

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South African stone fruit sector battles through sustained drought

South African stone fruit sector battles through sustained drought

As South Africa’s farmers continue to battle the sustained drought the country has undergone in recent years, Hortgro, the organisation which represents South Africa’s stone and top fruit industries, has been supporting producers and agricultural workers to manage their product during the harvesting season. Hortgro Science provides research-based information to enhance the quality of South African stone and top fruit. Growers reportedly receive regular notes and technical updates from Hortgro Science, highlighting the primary fruit quality aspects to be adhered to during heat waves. The organisation works in collaboration with the Canning Fruit Producers’ Association, Agri Western Cape, Agri SA and Wine TU to help producers financially to through the rest of the production season and contain risks to crops. Hortgro delivered 1,000 food parcels to affected farmworkers in the Ladismith area and held a ‘resilience workshop’ to empower them mentally with coping strategies at the end of 2019.

The good news is that the drought has broken in some areas, like Stellenbosch and Franschhoek. This means that Hortgro is optimistic that volumes will continue to increase throughout the season. Jacques du Preez, general manager trade and markets at Hortgro, said: “We are projecting an increase of 21% for nectarines compared to last season’s volumes, an increase of 14% for peaches and a 10% increase for plums. The continued droughts in some areas have, of course, impacted on the 2019/20 season’s full potential, but volumes and quality have certainly improved compared to last year.”