Mara Fruits has been producing papaya and passion fruit (maracuja) for 7 years now. Current production of papaya and maracuja is on 4 hectares and 3 hectares is being added. In total there will be 5 Ha of papaya and 2 hectares of maracuja.
"We have been growing these products with great pleasure. Our produce is tree ripened and has a short way to travel to Spain and our logistical hub in Perpignan. The brix of our papaya is 15 at harvest and of the maracuja its 13. Starting April 2021 we will have close to 500T of papaya to sell and 40T of maracuja. There is great demand for all sizes. Consumers in the north of Europe prefer sizes 6 – 12 per 4,5kg net weight boxes and the south of Europe prefers sizes 3 and 4. That is why we have added extra hectares of small sized papayas", comments Johan Troost, sales manager at Mara Fruits.
"The two varieties that we grow, the BH 65 (Hawaiian type-small sizes) and the Red Lady (Formosa type – big sizes) are grown year- round in the Canary Islands. The fruit ripens longer on the tree because the transport to the European market is shorter. The fruit therefore has more natural sugar, which benefits the taste of the product", says Juan Antonio Muñoz, director of Mara Fruits.
"We are ready to start delivering larger volumes through the European retail channel. We are now discussing the possibilities to substitute the conventional papayas for our organic papayas with our customers. Production and volumes are there, and the final consumer is also willing and able to play its part in consuming a tasty and organically grown papaya with a much smaller environmental impact compared to conventional produce that is shipped by air. Also the prospect of marketing these as Demeter and Bio Suisse produce, is very appealing to our customer base in the Germanic zone," adds Johan.
“Increased consumer focus on organic food”
When asked about the corona virus and papaya/maracuja, Juan-Antonio’s answer is straightforward: “We are benefitting of the increased consumer focus on healthy/organic food, with a lower carbon footprint. We are perhaps also riding the wave together with products like avocadoes and pomegranates that are perceived as healthy and are now adopted by a larger customer base than a few years ago.”
The papaya is available all year round and the maracuja is available from Aug/Sept till February. Sizes in the maracuja yellow are size 8 – 14 pieces per 2kg box, and in red 10-18 pcs. 230 boxes per pallet. Papaya sizes are size 3-12 in 4.5kg. 150 per pallet.