Spain: Granada-based cooperatives continue to grow in Europe

Fruit Logistica, the International Fruit and Vegetables Fair, has been the stage for the presentation of many innovations in products and packaging at the stands of the Granada-based cooperatives. A wide range of vegetables and specialties, standing out for their quality and food safety, has attracted the attention of a large number of professionals in the trade and distribution of fruit and vegetable products.

"Fruit Logistica remains the most important trade event for our cooperatives in order to continue attracting European customers. We are making great efforts when it comes to offering quality and an increasingly wider range of products, as well as the highest food safety standards," said Fulgencio Torres, president of the provincial Federation, who stressed that "the purpose of our presence at this fair is to get good business opportunities that will result in profitability for our farmers." In fact, the meetings held with professionals of the European distribution have been satisfactory for the cooperatives, which have presented their news, analysed the campaign and outlined plans for their various crops.

Last year, the 29 fruit and vegetable cooperatives associated with the provincial federation invoiced 281 million Euro, which is 16% more than in the previous year. These data are testament to the good development of Granada's fruit and vegetable exports to the EU market.

Three of the largest producers and marketers of fruit and vegetables from Granada are headquartered on the Granada coast. At Fruit Logistica, the cooperative Granada La Palma (Carchuna-Motril), chaired by Pedro Ruiz, showcased its innovations in cherry tomatoes and specialty and snack vegetables, holding also fruitful business meetings with the main European distribution chains. Likewise, the El Grupo Cooperative (Gualchos-Castell de Ferro), has continued to consolidate its position in Europe, with customers given the chance to taste their vegetables and a wide range of specialties. They were joined by Unica Group. These cooperatives brought a great number of agricultural producers to Berlin with the goal of learning about the productive activities in other producing countries.

The Cooperativa Procam, managed by Fernando Martín, showcased its organic subtropical vegetables and fruits, with three flagship products: avocados, cucumbers and tomatoes (on the vine and Raf), as well as the new additions to its Bio Procam range. In this campaign, it has expanded its Bio Range with kakis and citrus fruits, with new products such as bio flavour tomatoes and Butternut pumpkins.

Granada-based asparagus cooperatives have participated very actively in this edition of Fruit Logistica. Nine producing companies represent more than 4,000 growers of this flagship product for the province, which is very popular among customers and consumers in Central and Northern Europe. Centro Sur (Huétor Tájar), chaired by Antonio Zamora, has had a busy agenda of meetings with European professionals, promoting its fresh and canned green asparagus distributed under the label of the PGI Huétor Tájar, as well as its vegetable marmalades. This cooperative is the biggest in the asparagus sector, with more than 1,500 producing partners.

For its part, Cosafra (Huétor Tájar), chaired by Javier Trujillo, has held successful business meetings with customers seeking quality, experience and a stable supply of green asparagus, artichokes and watermelons. Above all, the fair offers the opportunity to plan the supply for the next campaign, which will kick off in early March, and in which this cooperative hopes to expand its production by 20 percent.

The Los Gallombares Cooperative (Ventorros de San José), chaired by Pedro Sillero, which has 700 agricultural partners and 1,400 hectares of crops, has worked intensely with its customers in the planning of its supply of green asparagus for the next season. In the same way, the cooperative San Isidro (Loja), managed by José Luís Espejo, has closed commercial agreements with its clients for the export of its green asparagus, which it combines with its huge olive oil supply.

Asparagus of Granada (Láchar), chaired by José Antonio Gómez, has 420 producers and 600 hectares devoted to green asparagus and artichokes. This second-grade cooperative markets the production from Vegachauchina (Chauchina), Agroláchar (Láchar), Espafrón (Moraleda de Zafayona), Espalorquiana (Fuente Vaqueros) and Agromesía (Villanueva de Mesía). In recent years, its production capacity has increased with new farms in western Granada and the province of Malaga. Its associated cooperatives are committed to innovation to generate added value and increase the profitability of the product in the market.

The Hortovilla cooperative, of Villanueva Mesía, has also organised a great promotion for its green asparagus at the German fair, as well as SAT La Caña, from Motril, with its wide range of tropical fruits and vegetables.

The provincial Federation has thanked the support given during this trade mission by the Andalusian Council of Agriculture, Fisheries and Rural Development and the Provincial Council of Granada, as well as by Caja Rural Granada, Bankia, Caixabank, Agrocolor and the Port Authority of Motril.

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