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Strikes compromise start of Argentine lemon campaign

Strikes compromise start of Argentine lemon campaign © Radio ATE FM Argentina

© Radio ATE FM Argentina

 

The start of Argentina’s lemon season has been hit by a series of strikes in the country’s main production region, Tucuman. Self-organising workers blocked roads in different points of the province and prevented the passage of trucks transporting citrus, according to La Nación. The blockades also take place at the accesses to farms and packing plants.

The protesters reportedly rejected the 40.6% salary increase agreed last March between the Argentine Union of Rural Workers and Stevedores (Uatre) and the Citrus Association of Northwest Argentina (Acnao), within the framework of the labour negotiations. The sector claims that the increase is actually 25%, while the remaining 15% corresponds to an increase that had been reached in 2020.

Víctor Santillán, one of the spokesmen of the self-convened harvesters, said: “We demand that they reopen the bargaining agreements because what they signed is a starvation agreement. They say that 40% is an achievement, but it is 25% with 15% from last year. We earn a wage of 1700 pesos (US$18), which with taxes is 1350 pesos (US$14). It is not enough for anything.” 

The workers are demanding the reopening of the labour unions to set a daily wage of 2,500 pesos (US$27).

Meanwhile, Acnoa and Uatre defended the agreement reached in March and alleged that there were political interests behind the protest. The entities reportedly warned that “minority sectors outside the activity with political interests are carrying out roadblocks and blocking access to farms and production facilities, thus paralysing the functioning and operation of the companies and workers at the beginning of the citrus season”.

The development comes just after the European Union announced that it had revoked a ban on Argentina citrus imports implemented in August due to a high number of citrus black spot interceptions.

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The GLOBALG.A.P. Tour stops off at Tucumán

The GLOBALG.A.P. Tour stops off at Tucumán

 

After 6 years, the certifier returns to Argentina to complete its 2019 Tour.

The province of Tucumán is the smallest in Argentina, but ranks 9th in terms of wealth generation, thanks to its excellent exportable offer, which is highly diversified, with 170 products exported to 160 countries. This is why Tucumán was chosen as the venue for the most recent edition of the GLOBALG.A.P. Tour. The first day featured conferences relating to various topics concerning production management and quality certification. The second day included field visits to companies such as Citrusvil and Tierra de Arándanos. The tour event focused on the economic benefits of good agricultural practices and introduced the latest GLOBALG.A.P. solutions, such as GLOBALG.A.P. add-ons, the Farm Assurer Program, the localg.a.p. program, GLOBALG.A.P. Livestock certification, the GLOBALG.A.P. traceability system, and the GLOBALG.A.P. FSMA PSR add-on to address the implications of the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA).

Good Agricultural Practices certification
is synonymous with competitiveness

In Argentina today, there are 608 companies with GLOBALG.A.P certification, and this figure is increasing. This is why the certifier partnered with the Tucumán Productive Development Institute (IDEP) to promote the products, services and benefits offered by both organisations. IDEP executive director, Dirk Trotteyn, said: “Our companies that adopt high production standards not only address aspects of food safety, but also respect and care for environmental resources, as well as the well-being of their workers.”

Vice-president of GLOBALG.A.P., Flavio Alzueta, stressed the importance of companies and producers addressing international market trends to meet a food demand that is increasingly aligned with quality and sustainability. “GLOBALG.A.P. is a platform that opens doors to compete in the main markets. Having this certification makes us more competitive. Argentina has great proactive professionals who do things well and conscientiously. There is room to grow our exports. At the same time, we must close the gap at the local level, where only 13% of fruits and vegetables are sold in the formal channel, with the rest sold informally,” said Alzueta.

IDEP launches
the “Tucumán Brand” Quality Seal

The GLOBALG.A.P. Tour was the ideal framework within which to launch the “Tucumán Brand” Quality Seal. Although the territory brand was created over 10 years ago, this latest launch offers new horizons to explore its full potential. The seal is a powerful tool that stimulates continuous improvement while also promoting values ​​linked to the sustainability of organisations. IDEP has been the main driver in building the Quality Seal and promoting its continuous improvement. It targets companies linked to primary production, the industrial sector, services, and public administration. There are currently more than 550 Argentine companies that are licensees of this hallmark.

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Vicente Trapani – hopes of US reopening to Argentinian lemons

Vicente Trapani produced 27,000 tons of lemon last season and is currently engaged in the transformation of mountain areas for fruit growing, thus expects around 38,000 tons this year, according to general manager Esteban Lazzo.

The Vicente Trapani firm was founded in 1935, starting out as a citrus smallholding.

As of 1965, the company gradually became consolidated as an integral lemon farmer and today is an international benchmark.

This family business is one of the founders of the activity in Tucumán province. It has 1,500 ha of lemon groves in the area of Los Nogales, a packing plant with capacity for 18,000-20,000 pallets and a manufacturing facility able to process up to 1,000 tons of fruit.

“Last season we produced 27,000 tons of lemon. We are currently engaged in the transformation of mountain areas for fruit growing and recovery of the irrigation system, so we expect around 38,000 tons this year,” said general manager Esteban Lazzo.

Europe, with over 70% of shipments, is the main export market, followed by Russia and Poland, which along with Ukraine has a historical niche.

Lazzo said the firm is “brimming with expectation to see what happens with the United States, a market which in 2001 closed for Argentinian lemons. We think it might open up again this year.”

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Lemons’ good qualities: the Argentine promotional strategy

The lemon has many little-known benefits so marketing is a must for boosting consumption.

One should start to talk of lemons with their qualities as a condiment, beginning to position them as a healthy kind of fruit that even has therapeutic properties.

In this vein, Lemos Producer Association (ATC in Spanish) manager Roberto Sanchez Loria emphasised that “if we are going to do this, then we cannot afford not to be certified. Being certified means we are offering something that we can say is intrinsically good, but which we treat with the same good level it deserves.”

The next matter at a global level in this regard will be that the fruit being sold should have very low toxic residue levels. “In future, we will have to find a balance between the aesthetic quality and healthiness, which is linked to toxic residues. This implies that we will be able to see a kind of fruit that is not as pretty to look at, but will certainly not have any chemicals, aiming for naturalness,” he said.

IDEP Tucumán supports the opening of new markets

Tucumán’s production forecasts augur well for a promising future but one that demands new strategies and new markets.

The state and the private sector are thus working together to seek new trade opportunities for lemons. In 2015, Tucumán began work towards signing plant health protocols with China. IDEP (Institute for the Productive Development of Tucumán) executive director Dirk Trotteyn said a committee of business people and civil servants was formed, which travelled to Beijing and met with their counterparts there to progress on the matter. “This is a long process we are working on in in a detailed and dedicated way,” he said. 

Within the Asian market, meetings have begun with Japan, too, in order to improve conditions so Argentinean lemons can withstand the long journey there. 

Moves are also being made in the US. “We want to reintroduce our lemons in that market,” Trotteyn said. A few months ago, the President of IDEP and the Minister of Production Development, Juan Luis Fernández, accompanied a delegation of producers from Tucumán in a meeting in Washington in order to advance those talks.

This article was first published in edition 145 (Sep-Oct 2016) of Eurofresh Distribution magazine on page 88. Read more citrus and other fresh produce news from that issue at: www.eurofresh-distribution.com/magazine/145-2016-sepoct

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Argentinean lemons seeking to conquer mega-markets

Tucumán has 40,000 ha of lemon crops. The environmental conditions make it possible to obtain fruit with very good characteristics of high industrial value, which with the right treatment provides a good, fresh asset. The business sector acted intelligently by investing heavily in capital, resulting in the development of an extremely important cluster.

The Tucumán Citrus Association, ATC, is celebrating its 40th anniversary. The association includes all of the active agents in the sector, such as primary producers and fresh and industrial fruit packers. Furthermore, it has a peculiarity: it is the only institution that involves all of the business fabric linked to lemon production in the province of Tucumán. Its main aim is the ongoing, sustained defence of this activity. 

News in the sector

Roberto Sánchez Loria, the President of ATC (the Tucumán Citrus Association), explained that Tucumán went through a very complicated situation in 2013 as a result of harsh frost, which very much deteriorated the produce. This was noticeable in 2014, when lemons plummeted to half of the historical volume in the province.

Although the current campaign will not end with the expected volume of 300,000 tons, it will be better than previous campaigns. This is in spite of a delay in the harvest, due to rainfall at times of year when there are normally none.

Exports of fresh lemon in Argentina generated US$ 1.836 billion between 2007 and 2014, making it one of the five points of reference in world commerce and the most relevant one in the Southern Hemisphere.

However, Argentina’s model for international competitiveness took a step back between 2010 and 2013. The markets with the greatest competitiveness indices are Spain and Greece, while the most significant in terms of turnover are the Netherlands, Spain, Russia and Italy.

The ones that have seen a drop in market share of the business as an international supplier are those with sales to the Netherlands, Poland and France. On the other hand, the markets with a greater growth dynamic in the market share are Saudi Arabia, the UK, Belgium, Canada and Ukraine. 

The US, China and India: the next steps

The challenge posed by the sector after conquering the markets of Europe and gaining ever more access and fame in countries in the Middle East is that this didn’t happen in three of the world’s mega-markets: the US, China and India. This is why the sector has begun to work on reopening the US market, which today is in a very special situation because the proposal for bilateral regulation has just been published and is in the public period of consultation.

“We assume that once this stage has been overcome, which is critical because it is where the proposal is technically validated, we will be very close to reopening the US market.”

On the other hand, conversations with China are at a very advanced stage; there is great interest in this country in establishing trade in lemons. Just like Japan, China demands cold treatment to include citrus fruit in this country as a preventive measure against the fruit fly.

“What we object to fundamentally are the thermal levels: what temperature and how long we must send the fruit for. We are asking for these matters to be reviewed, which China has agreed to do, and we hope to see more significant advances in 2017.”

Lastly, relations have only been established with India to draw up a binding protocol. There is a good predisposition; it is a market that will have to be explored due to its complexity and amount of inhabitants. Sánchez Loria stressed that “we are prepared to take on any market, but that does not mean we’ll be able to satisfy all of their needs. We’ll probably partially cover their requirements, but we cannot afford to not be there.” 

 

 

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Zamora: a specialist in the handling of fresh fruit

Zamora Citrus is a producer, packer and exporter of fresh Argentine lemons.

Zamora Citrus is a producer, packer and exporter of fresh Argentine lemons, continuing the lemon production business started by the Zamora family. The company was set up in 1984 and began exporting in 1994. “Our lemon production takes place on our own farms as well as those of third parties, which together add up to more than 700 ha in the province of Tucuman,” Luciana Zamora said.

In 2009, the company introduced a treatment system that minimises the use of pesticides and chemical fertiliser. Zamora Citrus aims to become a specialist in lemon handling, taking care of the environment and social responsibility, while developing a direct and personal relationship with customers.

The latest news from the Argentinian company is the recent installation of the latest technology for preselection lines and packaging on the market. The firm’s products are sold directly to supermarkets and other retail stores in Europe, Canada, the Middle East and Russia under different brands, offering customers a product in keeping with their needs in terms of quality and calibre: San Andres, Zamora, Zamci, Canri and Miss Alicia.

The company warehouse and farms are certificated by BRC-HACCP and GLOBALG.A.P.. “We have incorporated a postharvest treatment system, which decreases the use of chemicals, as well as the LMR allowed to give the customer a more natural and healthier product,” Zamora said.

For more information: http://www.zamoracitrus.com.ar/en/home.html

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IDEP marks 10 years promoting Tucumán exports

IDEP Tucumán, the Institute for the Productive Development of Tucumán in Argentina, has celebrated its first 10 years as an institution that supports exporters.

IDEP Tucumán, the Institute for the Productive Development of Tucumán in Argentina, has celebrated its first decade as an institution that supports exporters.

IDEP is the reference entity on foreign trade. It is run by a diverse board of directors consisting of government officials and entrepreneurs who represent the main production sectors of the province: citrus, sugar, horticulture, metallurgy, tourism and other services.

To celebrate the milestone, IDEP held a cocktail event at the Hilton hotel in Tucumán.

“We welcome this fusion between the public and private sector because it has allowed us to grow as a province, to give visibility to our exporters through participation in fairs and international business circles and help them improve their competitiveness through quality standard certifications,” said Juan Luis Fernandez, IDEP’s executive director.

IDEP: http://idep.gov.ar/

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Frost affects strong Tucumán citrus production

CIT-tucuman-FALDON-INTROD

Tucumán is noted for its privileged ecological conditions, as the climate, soil and subtropical temperature with a marked dry season are ideal for lemon farming. With a harvest season from April to sober, Tucumán accounts for 85% of the lemons produced in the country and provides around 40,000 jobs. A brief review of the past few years shows a steady increase in production, going from 602,015 tons per year in 1995 to 1,328,300 tons in 2007, when the volume stabilised and remained relatively stable… until now. On average, until 2013 the records showed around 35,000 hectares planted with lemon, of which 198,396 tons of fresh fruit went to export and 50,000 tons goes to the domestic market of fresh fruit and 1,050,000 tons is ground. The effects of the frost that affected the region in 2013 are now being seen in 2014, as this season the fruit deficit is estimated in alarming figures ranging from 30% to even 50% less, depending on the area. In figures for 2014, the experts forecast that there will be around 500,000 t destined for industrial purposes and only 170,000 tons of fresh lemon.  
This will be a tough campaign and Argentine producers are gearing up to face a season with little fruit and high prices. The main problem is how the international markets will receive the news. In Argentina, if efficient prices are reached more fruits are exported. But if there is no agreement on price negotiations, growers in Argentina prefer to send their fruit to the domestic market where the industry uses it to make dehydrated peel, juices and essential oils.

IDEP Tucumán opening new markets
With a clear focus on opening up new markets, IDEP (Productive Development Institute of Tucuman) is undertaking an intense joint project between the public and private sectors. New fields are being added to those already in production and our duty now is to find new target destinations for this surplus”, explains Ms. Virginia Avila, Area Export Promotion Coordinator for IDEP Tucumán. 
The Tucuman export map is expanding and alongside traditional destinations like the USA, Europe and Russia, other new development poles are emerging in areas such as the Middle East or the Asian and African markets.
“Each place has its peculiarities, both in logistics and quality. So, Tucuman’s exporting companies are working hard to swiftly satisfy these market demands. 
Despite the distance separating Tucuman and the world markets, the province – by working jointly with the public and private sectors – has managed to position its wide range of produce covering sectors like fresh fruits, organics, frozen items, industrial derivatives, metalworking, software, beverages and food products, etc.. The region has a worldwide presence, with a broad variety of products and destinations, shipping over 150 export products to more than 150 countries.
In this scenario, the IDEP as meeting point between the private sector and the state furnishes the export channel with tools through different initiatives and activities: – Trade Promotion: business rounds, financial assistance or participation in national and international fairs. Competitive edge: quality programme and credit support. Communication: communication support to enhance the visibility of Tucuman companies. Tucumán Brand: as quality seal for products of Tucuman origin.*
The province also has an airport cargo terminal with a cold chamber which allows, for example, exports of berries harvested the same day. 
“Production supply in the province under the Tucumán Brand is promoted by the IDEP through participation in trade fairs and national and international missions”, affirms Ávila.