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First rail shipment of fresh produce sets off from Valencia to Denmark

First rail shipment of fresh produce sets off from Valencia to Denmark
Photo:Transfesa

The first container has been sent by rail from Valencia to Denmark. CoolRail, which transports fresh produce by train from Spain to key European markets in partnership with Transfesa Logistics and Euro Pool System, operated this first voyage as a test run, with a view to making this a regular route. The initiative is aimed at meeting the increasing demand from customers such as Co-op Trading, which supplies the main retail cooperatives in Scandinavia.

The main benefits of this new route are the competitive transit time of five days and savings of more than 70% in CO2 emissions compared to road transport. The return trip is also economically feasible because the returning train carries empty pallets belonging to Euro Pool System.

Transfesa Logistics’ key account manager, Pedro Ramos, said: “We have made great progress by consolidating CoolRail as the most sustainable and efficient distribution network for sending fresh products to the whole of Europe. Customers in Nordic countries are pleased to see rail transport at the heart of the supply chain”.

CoolRail, powered by Transfesa, has been transporting fresh produce between the south and northwest of Europe since 2019.

 

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Spanish kaki sector faces difficult 2020 season 

Spanish kaki sector faces difficult 2020 season 
Photo: DO KAKI DEL XUQUER

Spain’s 2020 kaki crop is expected to be relatively small this year due to unfavourable weather conditions and attacks from pests in the country’s main production area Valencia. This contrasts with last season’s record harvest, which led to low prices and a 6% reduction in acreage. This year’s harvest is projected to be down by as much as 45% from last season’s total of 450,000 tons. Recent flooding in Valencia have exacerbated an already difficult season, with farmers unable to enter the fields. This led to higher demand and prices. Sizes are generally larger this year and there is an abundance of second-class fruit.

Prices paid to producers are on average higher than last season, but pest control costs have cut into profit margins. Restrictions on the use of phytosanitary products have contributed to the spread of pests and fungi.

 

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Heavy rains cause losses of €62 million in Valencia’s agriculture

Heavy rains cause losses of €62 million in Valencia’s agriculture
Photo: AVA-ASAJA

Heavy November rains along Valencia’s coastal regions caused more than €62 million in losses, including crop damage, the extra treatments to save trees and repairs to damaged infrastructure, according to a preliminary assessment by the Valencian Association of Agricultural Producers (AVA-ASAJA). 

In La Ribera, losses amount to €42 million. Citrus is the most affected crop, with some 15,000 hectares affected and 20 million fruits that will not reach the markets. As for kakis, whose harvesting season is underway, there are 4,000 hectares seriously damaged and losses amount to around €12 million. Moreover, 1,000 hectares devoted to seasonal vegetables, both in the open ground and in greenhouses, have been destroyed with an economic impact of €6 million. Lastly, the nurseries of ornamental plants and flowers, which have had 100 hectares hit by the storm, estimate their losses at €4 million, and this follows the impact of COVID-19 on the market.

AVA-ASAJA also estimates that €5 million will have to be spent by producers on fungicide and revitalising treatments in order to salvage the next season and even the life of the trees. The agrarian organization warns that if citrus and kaki fields remain flooded for several days, there may be irreversible damage caused by root asphyxia.

As far as agricultural infrastructures are concerned, AVA-ASAJA estimates the extra costs needed to repair roads, pipelines, greenhouses, warehouses or irrigation facilities at €15 million. In total, AVA-ASAJA believes that €62 million will be needed.

 

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AECOC to pay tribute to sector’s key role

AECOC to pay tribute to sector’s key role

 

On September 30 at the Valencia Conference Centre, AECOC will hold an act of recognition and tribute to the fruit and vegetable sector for its key role during the COVID-19 crisis.

The entire value chain of the sector demonstrated, even in the toughest moments of the crisis, its efficiency and professionalism, guaranteeing at all times the supply of fruit and vegetables to the whole of Spanish society and even to other countries, given its important exporting character. For this reason, the annual Congress of Fruits and Vegetables is transformed this year into an act of recognition to the value chain of the sector.

AECOC will bring together the main managers of the sector in a face-to-face event that, upon personal invitation, will be held with strict control measures for perfect compliance with the safety protocols set by the health authorities.

About AECOC

AECOC is the Association of Manufacturers and Distributors Companies, one of the largest business organisations in the country and the only one in which the industry and the distribution of mass consumption work together to develop good practices and technological standards that help companies to be more efficient and competitive, adding value to the consumer.

It encompasses both the largest companies and small and medium-sized companies and represents sectors as diverse as food and beverages, textiles, electronics, hardware and DIY, health and hospitality, among others. It has more than 30,000 associated companies whose joint turnover represents close to 20% of the national GDP.

 

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Orri Running Committee joins Food 4 Heroes

Orri Running Committee joins Food 4 Heroes

 

The Orri Running Committee (ORC) association, made up of producers of the premium mandarin variety Orri, has joined the ‘Food 4 Heroes’ initiative and thanks to its mediation has donated nearly 1,000 kilos of this protected variety, which will be distributed among the professionals and patients of the field hospital installed on the IFEMA campus in Madrid.

Guillermo Soler, ORC manager, said, “This is a small gesture with which we intend to thank the great heroes of this pandemic who are fighting on the front line every day to take care of us, protect us and make this situation that we are living pass what soon as possible.”

“Food 4 Heroes” is an initiative in which dozens of restaurants, chains and food companies collaborate, working as a team, altruistically and in solidarity, with the aim of feeding health workers in hospitals during the coronavirus crisis.

“From the Orri Running Committee, as a producer association, we also do not forget to thank and highlight the effort being made by all farmers, supply chain operators, gatherers, clothing, logistics, supermarket workers, etc., of our country so that, in these delicate and extremely urgent moments, Spanish consumers can feed themselves and strengthen their immune system in the healthiest way,” said Soler.

Photo: Orri Running Committee

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Spanish citrus sector appeals to supermarkets not to buy South African citrus

Spanish citrus sector appeals to supermarkets not to buy South African citrus

 

Valencia’s main agricultural professional organisation, La Unio-Uniò de Lluradors, has asked retailers in the country to minimise purchases of South African citrus. The appeal comes after the discovery of prohibited substances in South African fruit. There are 62 active substances used in South Africa that are banned in the EU, 13 of which are defined as “very dangerous” for human health by the WHO.

La Unio has defined its appeal: “a form of sensitivity towards farmers, but above all consumers”. Meanwhile, the organisation is also asking Brussels to block imports from countries where banned active substances are allowed in agriculture.

 

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Valencian association laments absurd prices of South African citrus

Valencian association laments absurd prices of South African citrus

The Valencian Farmers’ Association (AVA-ASAJA) has complained about the “nonsense” prices currently being fetched by South African citrus in European retailers. After what the association has described as a “ruinous campaign” for Valencian producers, with prices not even meeting production costs at some points, South African citrus is now going for four times the price. The association goes on to claim that the fruit from South Africa is produced under worse socio-labour conditions than those produced in the Valencian Community. It further highlights the risk of pests and diseases such as black spot which is common in South Africa but has not yet reached Europe.

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SanLucar annouces its changed organizational structure

The multinational fruit company is making changes to its structure in order to concentrate even more on its operations and to further expand its clear differentiation.

In spite of the excellent sales forecast for the campaign 2018/2019 of around 440 million euros – a growth of almost 9%- SanLucar has announced a revised organisational structure. With it, the focus will be on its established management, which has grown organically, and on its international fruit and vegetable specialists. SanLucar is thus concentrating even more on its operative business in order to set the course for the future.

“From field to fork, our priority is to successfully perform all our value chain activities”, explains Stephan Rötzer- founder and owner of the company. That is why we have opted for a structure, in which the best experts in each part of the value chain lead the decision- making process: Starting with the selection of varieties, cultivation, logistics; to presentation and advice at the point of sale, in order to be able to offer fresh fruit and vegetables with the best taste to consumers”.

“These experts are already in our management team and we want to expand their responsibilities to drive our continued growth”, explains Stephan Rötzer. “Thanks to their know-how in their respective areas of expertise, we will continue working to differentiate SanLucar brand in the global fruit and vegetable market”.

As a result, the CEO function disappears in the short and medium term within the changed structure of the SanLucar Group. This position was held by Michael Brinkmann, who leaves now the company. Moreover, the two founders of SanLucar, Stephan Rötzer and Jorge Peris, will take over the management of the company again.

Stephan Rötzer: “We are very grateful to Michael Brinkmann for his dedication and commitment over all these years. Michael Brinkmann has made a very important contribution to the current structure and also to the positive development of the last years. We are convinced that the clear focus on operations will help us to continue to be innovative at all levels, as well as to differentiate our high quality and taste products in the fruit and vegetable market.

About SanLucar

SanLucar, the premium brand for fruit and vegetables, is a globally positioned enterprise with subsidiaries in Germany, Austria, Spain, Tunisia, South Africa, Ecuador, Benelux and Dubai. In 1993, the company was founded by Stephan Rötzer and Jorge Peris 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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Abysmal state of market for Valencia’s stone fruit

Abysmal state of market for Valencia’s stone fruit

Valencia’s stone fruit producers are gloomy about the prospects for the season ahead. Demand for the fruit is very low among European major retail chains, according to AVA-ASAJA. This is causing a “real collapse” at the outset of the new campaign and is greatly concerning growers who are unable to find outlets for their fruit at prices that would at least allow them to meet production costs. This is the point of the season when prices should be at their highest. This year’s fruit quality is said to be of excellent quality due to the good number of cold hours.

The AVA-ASAJA urged local and national administrations to support growers to prevent an “irreversible disaster”. Suggestions include removing large volumes of fruit from the market place urgently.

 

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Unica Fresh opens commercial delegation in Valencia

Unica Fresh opens commercial delegation in Valencia

The new office will offer clients of this strategic area a more direct and personalised treatment

Unica has opened a new commercial headquarters in Valencia that will cover the entire Levante area. The new office’s first addition is Rubén Morte, who has previously worked in positions of commercial responsibility and quality in several production and marketing companies and who will be responsible, in addition to managing client and products of the entire Unica group, for providing support and service in the city of Valencia and its surrounding areas.

Unica has taken this new step with the aim of serving its current customers and potential distributors better and more directly. The firm has decided to increase its presence in Valencia, which represents a key location. With this office, closer treatment will be provided in an area where a large part of the activity of marketing and export of agri-food products is concentrated.

There are numerous distribution chains and purchasing centres for international supermarkets located in this region, hence the decision to establish a physical office in Valencia to continue providing customers the best service.

Contact details of new commercial office:

Avenida de Francia, 44

Entresuelo-Office 16 46023 Valencia

Contact telephone number: 607 343 482