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Challenges of producing smaller melons

"In the context of the European crisis of 2008, producers started shipping more quality melons to the domestic market, which has resulted in the production volume of Piel de Sapo melons doubling over the past two to three years," said Vinicius Saraiva, adding that: "Improvements in packaging, particularly with nets, which are reserved for melons with a high Brix, are allowing producers to get more money for their fruit in the domestic than in the export market," explains Vinicius Saraiva.


Valverde Piel de Sapo of HM CLAUSE

Vinicius is director of operations in Brazil of HM Clause. The company produces a wide variety of hybrid melons and watermelons that strive to meet the highest standards. The French firm has subsidiaries in Latin America in Argentina, Guatemala, Mexico and Brazil.

With regard to trends in Brazilian production, Vinicius stresses that larger calibre yellow melons are mostly sold in the domestic market, while smaller ones are exported.

"What we are seeking is to develop small melons that have the same flavour as larger ones. Clients such as Tesco and Sainsbury's increasingly demand smaller fruit. In the past, six melons were shipped per box; today, this figure has increased to ten/eleven. Meeting such demand is our greatest challenge," affirms Vinicius.

90% of the production for export concentrates in the Brazilian north east, which has been experiencing serious drought problems threatening the normal growth of the sector.

"Many producers are migrating to irrigated areas or with greater availability of freshwater. The purchase or leasing of fields has been the strategy that many companies have adopted to be able to meet a demand that remains strong. As long as the weather conditions are normal, the acreage should increase by 10% next year, but if we have a similar winter to last year's (or worse), the acreage will surely be reduced," explains Vinicius.

"Production in Central America raises concerns, especially Guatemala, which is growing very fast, and where large companies are purchasing farms with a major focus on the European market," explains Vinicius, adding that "minimum wages in Guatemala do not exceed US$ 200 and in Brazil they are 50% higher, but in Brazil we have faster and cheaper freight to the European market, which is beneficial to the melon's taste," he affirms.

For Vinicius, "what differentiates HM Clause is that its focus is 100% on producing the best seed, as opposed to other brands, which sell the seed packet along with pesticides."


More information:
Vinicius Saraiva / Eduardo Albonico
HM CLAUSE
T:+55 (19) 3743-1220
M: +55 (19) 9 9206-8347
e.albonico@hmclause.com 
www.hmclause.com

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