"No one leaves this building without handing in their questionnaire," Lia Bijnsdorp, managing director of the United Producers of Mexico, laughs but means it. The importers and exporters that were present at the first avocado forum, held in the stately Schielandhuis in Rotterdam, are the audience for whom the UMP wants to realise a direct connection between Mexico and the Netherlands. The UPM believes the collaboration with the concerned parties is important for their project, which is why the questionnaires are important.
The forum started with a morning programme for the Mexican avocado exporters. Here presentations were given that the exporters have to take into consideration. There were presentations given on quality control, recommendations from a report from the Wageningen University & Research about the post harvest avocado research done in 2018, possible assurances for transport, the ripening process and there was also a talk by Jorge Narváez of the Consejo Nacional Agropecuario, Lowina Broens of RVO Nederland and by Desirée Colomé of the Mexican embassy in the Netherlands, in Spanish of course.
The presentations were intended to prepare the exporters for the European market and how they are best able to sell their products here. Temperature control, ripening and packaging were the main points here. Anton Filippo of LBP gave those present some good advice. "Take care of customers and a logistical agent in Europe before exporting avocados."
In the afternoon the importers joined the forum. There were a few more presentations given, including one on a coating for avocados to extend their shelf life and an optical sorter specially designed for avocados. The dry dust level is particularly important in this.
In the afternoon programme the initiative of a direct line between Mexico and the Netherlands was further highlighted by Lia. In collaboration with Aktion Trade from Mexico and Eimskip from Iceland the UPM wants to pilot a connection between the Netherlands and Mexico in September. The transit time of the direct line should gradually decline and the volume of products from Mexico rise. In October/November, this should result in a transport line of 14-12 days. Avocados are an important volume of the product for the European market. The forum is intended to allow exporters and importers to network and to inform the parties of what they have to take into consideration. After the presentations there was a matchmaking scheduled between the importers and exporters present.
The UPM logistics partners explain more about the direct line
Lia looks back at a successful day. "There were more sign ups than I had expected and it was certainly a success. There were twice as many importers at the event than exporters, 8 versus 16. For the next edition we will certainly focus on a two day event so that we can pull out a whole day for networking."
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