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Year overview - May

South Africa dominates grape market, Aussie Wiggles get in on the action

Australian Pink Lady to China
Pink Lady apples are a highly popular variety amongst consumers in Australia, but one grower is about to find out whether Chinese tastes will appreciate the tart, juicy and acidic flavor they are known for. Tasmanian grower, and licensed exporter of Pink Lady branded apples, Hansen Orchards, is expected to send four lots of 60 cartons via airfreight to China this week

Seeds in Space
British astronaut Tim Peake has invited school children to help him in an experiment to learn more about how to grow food in space. Tim wants the children to plant the seeds of rocket leaves that have been in orbit and compare their growth with normal plants. The project will give around half a million UK children the chance to learn how science in space contributes to our knowledge of life on earth. The project, aptly named Rocket Science is being run by The Royal Horticultural Society and the UK Space Agency.

Chiquita losses, lays off 300 workers in Latin America
Chiquita Brands International, which in January announced plans to close its Charlotte headquarters, said on Thursday it laid off 300 workers in Latin America and saw its losses more than double in the first quarter, months after finalizing an acquisition by two Brazilian companies.

The banana company saw a 5 percent drop in sales in the three months ended on March 31, to $725 million. That’s down from $761 million at the same time last year, according to a quarterly report. The firm’s net loss more than doubled to $64.6 million, compared with $24.6 million during the same quarter last year.

Great deal of damage done to European fruit after hail storm on May 6th
On May 6th, (severe) rain, hail and stormy weather was reported by various European countries, including the Netherlands. This has been reported by NFO. 5,000 hectares of agricultural crops in Austria have been damaged by hail. OFH and 'Vereinigte Hagel' received damage reports from Belgium (around the Sint-Truiden area), South Limburg, East Betuwe and West Brabant. The weather was very severe in Northeast Austria, with complete hail damage to 5,000 hectares of agricultural crops.

South African grapes dominate the market

The table grape trade is mainly dominated by South African produce. On the German market the varieties La Rochelle, Barlinka and Dauphine are readily available. On average, the South African grapes were sold for around 2.79 Euro per kilo. The market share of South Africa amounted to an approximate 43.9 percent.

Rains reduce Indian grape exports by 26.47%
With the unseasonal rain and hailstorms badly affecting the quality and production, grape exports from Nashik district have declined by 26.47% in the current grape season (January-April) due to unseasonal rain and hailstorms in February and March.

The district exported 49,443 metric tonnes of grapes by April-end in the current grape season, against 67,244 metric tonnes exported in 2014.

Wiggles to help Aussie and Kiwi kids ‘Pick Right. Feel Bright!’
PMA-ANZ is out to prove that advertising still works. Today it announced that it has enlisted the help of children’s entertainment gurus The Wiggles to prove as much. “They’re very passionate about what we’re doing,” said PMA-ANZ CEO Michael Worthington. The Wiggles will be the face of a campaign to engage children with healthy eating habits, and counter the 5000 plus junk food advertisements seen by the average child of the developed world each year.

Spain: Extra-early peach harvest kicks off in Huelva
The harvest of the extra-early peach varieties has already started in Huelva.

At the moment, the varieties harvested are the Plawhite, which is a white-fleshed peach, and the Plagold, a yellow-fleshed peach. These varieties have little importance at a provincial level, but in about 10-12 it will be time for the Florida, which is the most common one in the province.

Other more selective and uncommon varieties will also be harvested, such as the Fuentes, which are intended for special orders.

Citrogold and NCP settle tango action against South African Citrus Industry Body
In the matter between Nador Cott Protaction (NCP) & Citrogold against Eurosemillas, Stargrow & other, Citrogold and NCP has settled its action against Citrus Research International (CRI).

Citrogold and NCP have agreed to settle their action against Citrus Research International (CRI) in the Tango Action.
This settlement was agreed to in order to protect the Citrus Foundation Block (CFB), an operating entity of CRI, from the legal costs and the financial risk of a potential damages claim and by extension, its ongoing ability to conduct research and provide services for the benefit of the citrus industry in Southern Africa.

New UK pear orchard to compete with imports
The largest conference pear orchard the UK has seen in 40 years is being planted on a fruit farm in Kent.

It is hoped that modern growing techniques and technology, mean it will be able to compete with European imports, making it easier to buy a local pear from local shelves.

"South African citrus exporters avoid EU as much as possible, but can't do without"
The South African citrus season has started once again. "There is a good citrus harvest on the trees in South Africa, albeit with smaller sizes, but larger volumes," says an importer. The hot topic in recent seasons was the discovery of Citrus Black Spot (CBS) and the measures are hovering over the market once again this year. According to the citrus buyer the imposed CBS measures aren't simple, but are doable. "CBS is a political problem, as in the last century not a single tree in Europe has been affected. Despite this, the Spanish lobby was so strong that these measures have been taken. It's expensive for the South Africans and difficult for us, but enough South African citrus will once again make its way to Europe, also through re-export to Spain, as long as it's declared somewhere else."

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