Almeria is often called the orchard of Europe, since 80% of the production of this Spanish province is exported to EU countries. Nevertheless, Extenda, the Andalusian Foreign Promotion Agency, continues to organize international marketing campaigns with the aim of diversifying the destination markets for the fruits and vegetables from Almeria. In fact, Blanca Crespo, of the entity's Promotion and Investment Attraction Department, said that "we are working on gaining access to alternative markets, such as the Scandinavian countries, where the organic sector is growing strongly, and other markets where we have not traditionally been present, such as Romania, Austria, the Czech Republic and Slovakia. These are countries where the demand continues to increase, just like Canada, the US and the Arab Emirates. We also hope to be able to reenter Russia."
One of the newest promotions that Extenda is carrying out worldwide is a special mission for Andalusian fruit and vegetable companies in Canada. "We also hope to be able to carry out campaigns in the US, since the agro-food sector is growing strongly there." So far, however, not many actions have been organized there, mostly due to the existing problems in the access of products to the country. In any case, Crespo believes that the training courses organized by Extenda to allow fruit and vegetable companies to adapt to the standards of the FDA (the US Food Authority), together with the country's growth prospects, will make it easier for more promotional campaigns to be carried out in the US.
Crespo also highlights the organization's support to the promotion of sales in markets such as Dubai or Saudi Arabia. "In fact, there is a fruit and vegetable company from Almería that will soon start exporting to Saudi Arabia." Extenda also plans to organize promotional actions in countries like Austria, Poland, the United Kingdom and Belgium, with special emphasis on the organic sector.
However, he says that in order to reach certain markets, it is very important to keep an eye on what the competition is doing. "The Netherlands is our biggest competitor. There are markets in which the Netherlands is often present with our own product. It is very important to find out how we can get rid of this intermediary, so that we can reach the customer directly. The Netherlands is, however, in a much more favorable position."