According to spokespersons from lobby group Abrafrutas, Brazilian producers of tropical fruits including mangoes and papayas have been hit by falling European demand and feel burnt after excessively relying on EU sales.
Europe was the second major hot-spot for the COVID-19 epidemic that began in China and orders from the continent began to fall as a result of lockdowns to contain the virus, Jorge de Souza, manager for projects and international promotion at Abrafrutas, said in an interview.
While most domestic fruit production can be redirected to the Brazilian market, the issue will affect the association’s goal of exporting more than $1 billion worth of fruits in 2020, up from about $860 million last year, Souza said.
The European Union buys 60% of Brazil’s fruits while the United States gets 18%, he said. “Europe is our thermometer,” Souza said by telephone. “There is a fall in orders due to smaller demand.”
Consumers are showing a preference for fruits with a longer shelf life, hurting export demand for products like papayas, one of Brazil’s top 10 exported fruits.