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2015 Year Overview March

Southern Hemisphere apples up, Indian grape exports halved

In March FreshPlaza celebrated their 10th anniversary. In 2005, the international news website was launched, and it has grown significantly over the years. Characteristic of this newsletter is that it doesn’t just contain all sorts of facts and news about the goings on in the fresh produce sector, but also the most interesting innovations, remarkable photos and a dose of humour. The ‘funny’ at the bottom provides readers a well-deserved break during the hard working day. Readers appreciate this combination of serious reports, trivia and humour.

Avocados and apricots from Spain to U.S. market
U.S. and Spanish authorities have signed a cooperation agreement that will open up access to the North American country’s market for avocados and apricots.

“Apricots and avocados from Spain that are shipped to the U.S. must be grown under specific and previously approved rules. Amongst other requirements, these rules include a list of registered farms and storage facilities which are visually inspected for the detection of pests,” FEPEX said in a statement on its website.

US opens door to Mexican figs
Mexican fresh fig exporters are now able to ship their fruit to the continental U.S., under the condition the produce is treated with irradiation.

WAPA apple harvest of southern hemisphere +5%
The WAPA estimates that the apple harvest in the southern hemisphere will reach 5.5 million tonnes in 2015. This is 5% more than in 2014 and 2% more than the three year average. Of this total amount, an estimated 1.7 million tonnes will be exported.

Looking at individual countries, WAPA estimates the apple harvest in Chile to be 1,678,000 tonnes, 1,234,000 tonnes in Brazil, 907,000 tonnes in Argentina, 874,000 tonnes in South Africa, 538,000 tonnes in New Zealand and 311,000 tonnes in Australia.

SUNSET® harvesting from EnviroFresh Farms
The company's greenhouse grown peppers were the first Canadian crop available in stores this year.

SUNSET® sweet bell peppers are grown at their greenhouse facility EnviroFresh Farms in Ontario. EnviroFresh is the company’s first carbon negative greenhouse, which uses waste heat and carbon from a neighboring facility and redirects it into the greenhouse. By doing so, the company uses up to 90% less fuel than a traditional greenhouse. The energy savings is equal to taking 6,500 cars off the road each year.

Fyffes boss rules out mega merger deal
Fyffes has no appetite to merge with another big player after the collapse of a combination with Chiquita late last year, according to chairman David McCann. The former solicitor ruled out another deal with the likes of Del Monte. "A very substantial transformation like what we have just seen is not something we are looking at" he said.

The banana boss said he regretted the collapse of talks with Chiquita. "Of course we regret it not going through but it has gone somewhere else and we're moving on. There was a tremendous amount of time spent on it for nine months. It was extremely interesting and challenging but didn't end the way we wanted it to".

Fyffes must now expand through other methods. It will seek to buy mid-size companies, he said.

Savoura becomes insolvent
The largest greenhouse tomato producer in Quebec, Savoura, has become insolvent and has to sell their greenhouses and trademark.

Their major creditors asked the Court to appoint a receiver under the Bankruptcy and Insolvency Act on Thursday. Raymond Chabot was chosen to initiate an assets sales process to allow the secured creditors, the Banque Nationale and Banque Royale their guarantors. “The main assets are the three greenhouses, the Savoura trademark and the stocks” explains Jocelyn Renaud, Associate at Raymond Chabot and appointed receiver. “We are making sure at the same time that production and distribution activities continue” says Mr Renaud. He began meeting with the employees yesterday to explain the situation. There are almost 200 employees in total.

Possible business combination between UNIVEG, Greenyard Foods, Peatinvest
The board of directors of UNIVEG announces that it will start preliminary discussions in relation to a possible business combination between UNIVEG Group, Greenyard Foods and Peatinvest.

Stowaways at Calais big problem for transporters on British market
Preventing the large number of stowaways that try to reach England (by getting into the cargo bit of the lorries around Calais) from doing so. Since the Channel tunnel was opened in 1994, Calais is a transit route for migrants, but recently this number has increased significantly.

"All Dutch lorry drivers who go to Dover through the Channel tunnel, are facing this problem. There are thousands of stowaways in a 200 kilometre radius around Calais. If a refugee succeeds in getting on board as a stowaway, there would be a 2,500 Euro fine in England last year, an amount that was increased to 3,500 Euro this year."

New grape tomato variety Olivia
Olivia, a grape/mini-plum variety from Hazera, it produces consistently sized and flavored fruit across all conditions, according to the company. Olivia was developed using traditional plant breeding techniques.

Mastronardi, Fresh Direct Produce and Oppy are amongst the Best Managed Companies form Canada.
Mastronardi named Canada’s best six years running; 4th year for Fresh Direct Produce; 14th year for Oppy and 2nd for Red Sun Farms.

Village Farms introduce three tomato novelties
Village Farms' offerings this year continue the trend they've established in past years of providing consumers with unique tomatoes. These new offerings Cherry No. 9 and Cabernet Estate Reserve varieties have different taste profiles, they both offer consumers unique tastes that stand out in the produce aisle.

Village Farms is also marketing a variety pack of their most successful new varieties. The True Rebel mix gives consumers a chance to sample a wide range of tastes.

Indian grape exports halved
Indian agriculture has been hit by bad weather, with strong rainfall and hailstorms that have caused numerous problems. A source that wishes to remain anonymous states that “Growers have lost a lot of money and all export operations will conclude in one week’s time. The volume shipped to Europe will drop by almost 50% compared to last year, from 6,000 to around 3,000 containers.”

RSA citrus export stop to Spain
Deon Joubert, of CGA, says: “With only 3.4% of our volume going to Spanish ports, Spain accounted for 36% of our interceptions, so the risk for the other 96% of the fruit going to Europe was much too high. South Africa is only asking to be treated the same as anybody else; for fruit to be inspected for CBS as in other countries, following the same standard protocols.”

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