Antonio Llobell, Biogold EM (Euro-Mediterranean):

"South Africa and Spain can and should work together in the citrus market"

The South African group Biogold encompasses a global network of companies dedicated to the management of intellectual property in the agricultural sector, mainly regarding citrus varieties.

In addition to being part of the ANB holding, which is known worldwide for the success of the ClemenGold mandarin brand, Biogold is the co-owner of the new Leanri protected mandarin variety, whose fruit will hit the market for the first time this season. In addition, it is a South African licensee of the Nadorcott mandarin, and already has other protected citrus fruits on the market, including several late Navel oranges and also Valencia varieties, as well as two seedless lemons; betting on innovation in the segment of pigmented citrus. "The idea is to have a range of products that cover the campaign from October to June," stated the general director of the Sevillian subsidiary Biogold EM (Euro-Mediterranean), Antonio Llobell.

However, Biogold belongs to a group that is not only dedicated to plant varietal innovation. "In South Africa, we are a large producer of citrus fruits, especially of high value protected varieties that are exported to different countries, including Spain," he said.

Biogold defends the quality and the work of the South African citrus industry and denies that the oranges imported from South Africa (the second-largest citrus exporter in the world) want to compete with the orange produced in the Andalusian or Spanish countryside. "The competition is anecdotal, as the late South African fruit arrives in Spain coinciding with the first early clementines of national origin," he stated. "The South African Nadorcott arrives at the end of October, so there is barely a month of overlap." "Instead of seeking confrontation we should try to complement each other, that would add value to both parties."

Biogold understands that South Africa and Spain can and should work together in the citrus market. Biogold can use its protected varieties to complement the northern hemisphere's production.

According to the general director of the Spanish subsidiary, even though the Spanish citrus sector looks to South Africa with some resentment, the true competition of the Andalusian orange is in Morocco, Egypt, and Turkey. "The protected varieties and limited planting are the answer."

Biogold's protected varieties model seeks to limit production with a certain number of licenses that guarantee that the farmers can be part of the exploitation of exclusive varieties, selling the fruit well and paying royalties to help to the development of varietal innovation.



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