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May 2014

A month of firsts and a busy time for Brussels




The arrival of Australian table grapes in South Korea this month marked the opening of a valuable trade market for Australian growers. Minister for Agriculture, Barnaby Joyce, said “Coupled with the recently signed Korea Australia Free Trade Agreement (KAFTA), this is fantastic news for our $200 million a year table grape export industry.”



Dutch pears were also looking forward to heading east in May after years of preparation on the part of the Dutch government and the Working Group "China Pears" of Frugi Venta and the NFO, on 24 May, the official introduction of Dutch pears into the Chinese market became a reality.


Not to be left out, New Zealand's ENZA saw the arrival of the first shipment of ENZARed kiwis this month. It is the first time this new red kiwi variety was to be offered to Chinese consumers.

The citrus Black Spot issue was back in the news when the EU delayed making a decision on banning SA citrus fruit at the beginning of the month and then later, on the 24th, introduced stricter measures on the import of citrus from South Africa. The citrus from South Africa was to be subjected to stricter criteria, and would have to be tested more extensively, this would take place mainly in South Africa. The new measures demanded that a sample of at least 600 of each type of citrus fruit per 30 tonnes had to be taken by the South African authorities. All fruit showing symptoms would be tested. Moreover, a sample per 30 tonnes of 'Valencia' oranges was also to be tested.

Brussels was again in the news when it was reported that EU regulations could mean the end of US pears in Europe

UK hosts round-table over Indian mango ban

The British government held talks with all the stakeholders to try to get the EU to lift the ban on the import of Indian mangoes before the sanctioned date of December 2015.

The Union of Small Growers and Ranchers (UPA) of Castile-La Mancha, Spain were disappointed and frustrated when Brussels supported entry of 20% extra Chinese garlic

Meanwhile Brazil was planning to increase exports to the Russian market due to the trade sanctions imposed by the United States and the European Union on Russia. (This was before the import ban came into place later in the year)

US lime prices more than doubled in May due to shortages in the supply from Mexico and as a result of frosts in September the previous year Chile announced that stonefruit exports had decreased 59% in 2013.

The situation is Spain was not improving when tomatoes and peppers hit rock bottom prices in Almeria. Italy was also experiencing the

Florida was hit by severe flooding in May and the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service issued food safety recommendations for the eastern seaboard affected by a massive storm system that dropped upwards of 10 inches of rain on the region. The National Weather Service (NWS) reported between 15 and 20 inches of rain in Pensacola, Fla. in 24 hours. According to NWS the flooding was the worst the Panhandle had seen in 30 years.

California though had the opposite problem due to a prolonged drought, the lack of water for California's Central Valley citrus growers made things very difficult.

Parts of Spain were also suffering with droughts affecting 90% of Alicante's crops

Meanwhile researchers at Washington State University have come up with a new apple that they called the "Cosmic Crisp." The first release of the apple to Washington state apple growers, via a lottery, will be in 2017. The new apple won't be available widely to consumers until 2019.

'Bubbleberries', which look like a small strawberry but have a flavour which is supposedly reminiscent of the chewable gum, were being sold in Waitrose for the first time this month.

Chiquita’s shipping operations were to return to New Orleans after a nearly 40-year hiatus. The company, known as United Brands in the 1970s, relocated its shipping operations from the Port of New Orleans to the Port of Gulfport in the mid-1970s after more than seven decades of calling at the Port of New Orleans.

Ecuadorian banana brand BanaBay reported further dramatic growth during the first quarter of the year, having secured a series of new contracts, more than doubling the number of containers it ships globally from 20 containers per week to 53 – the equivalent of approximately 5.7 million bananas per week.

It was also looking positive for Camposol when they announced an increase in sales by 49% in 1st quarter.

UK company Dovetailed, was developing 3D printed fruit’. They have been able to accomplish this by using a technology which has been around for years, called spherification.




This years edition of MEDFEL was gaining popularity with a 10% increase in the number of visitors compared to last year. From 13th to 15th May 2014 the fair, held in Perpignan welcomed 5,315 visitors, compared to the 4,894 visitors in 2013.

Click here for the photo report


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