Year overview - June

Calais strikes and migrants, Greek trade and hail



Huge back up at Calais, as port is again blocked by strike

Due to continued strike action the port of Calais remains blocked. There are no ferries crossing the Channel and the trains are running empty because protesters are blocking the entrances. On the A16 and the A26 the exit to the ferry terminals is closed as are exits 43 and 44 to the Channel Tunnel.

FreshPlaza.de goes online!
On 8th June our German edition www.freshplaza.de officially started. Our German team will work to inform the German fresh produce sector with all relevant news on a daily basis.

South Africa: Currency, political uncertainty and oil prices all influence the market
At the start of the South African apple season there was not much optimism around, this was due to good volumes in combination to high stocks in Europe.

Roelf Pienaar, Tru-Cape Fruit Marketing managing director says: “After the hail of 2014, we always knew that we would have significantly more volume to market this season. There have been factors outside of our control such as the weakening of the Euro against the South African Rand, political uncertainty in Africa, unstable oil prices, which all had an effect on fruit prices as well as the liquidity of the market. Overall, however, it has been better than expected.”

Chiquita to keep ripening facilities at Gulfport

The Chiquita company has announced it would keep its banana ripening business at the state Port at Gulfport, Mississippi, rather than New Orleans.

New Orleans port president and CEO Gary LaGrange told the New Orleans CityBusiness that Chiquita's new owners have told the port they are more interested in cargo operations at the port.

Table grapes from Egypt: High demand, scarce supply
Egyptian table grape season is under way. The competition on the market is fierce, the importer of Egyptian table grapes explains. Moreover, he says, the local producers have to struggle with immense heat: "On Wednesday and Thursday the temperature in the Egyptian fields reached around 46 to 47 degrees Celsius. It is perfectly understandable that at these temperatures the harvest workers could not work in the fields.“

NZ Apple season ending on 'good note'
New Zealand apple growers mostly had better weather conditions than they endured during the 2014 season, which made for fruit with excellent sugar content, or Brix, and starch levels, excellent eating quality and colour, according to Mr Apple’s Mark Pay. “Feedback on Mr Apple’s colour and eating quality of DIVA™, NZ Queen, Late Queen / NZ Rose has been very positive from the market.” A number of customers showed a preference for Mr Apple’s Royal Gala over alternative Southern Hemisphere suppliers because of both the presentation of the fruit and the eating qualities, he told Fresh Plaza.

Capespan invests millions for new vineyards
South African fresh produce company Capespan has invested close to N$40 million to develop 114 hectares of vineyards at Aussenkehr in the south.

Namibia Grape Company (NGC) extended its marketing and management contract with Capespan in 2013.


Many buyers at London Produce Show 2015
The second edition of the London produce Show took place last week in Grosvenor House Hotel. The event kicked off on Wednesday evening with a well attended Cocktail Evening.

Thursday was the trade fair day, the general opinion among stand holders and visitors was very positive. People spoke of the high quality visitors and interesting seminars.

Jim Prevor, President and Editor in Chief of Produce Business UK and also the driving force of the event, said that visitor numbers were up 50% on last year and came from more that 50 different countries to share ideas. "We had more seminars this year and we have also involved more universities from both the US and UK and there has been more official involvement. The show is seen as an international meeting place for the fruit and vegetable industry.

Capespan Asia & Golden Wing Mau join forces

Capespan in Asia and Golden Wing Mau will be consolidating their supply & procurement expertise from South Africa under a single structure to secure critical mass for the whole of Asia.

This announcement follows Metspan & Capespan Japan’s recent announcement that they will join forces under a management umbrella called Capespan Asia, in support of the growth strategy to embrace the continued evolution and huge potential in the Asian markets.


Hailstorms cause considerable damage to Spanish growers
Last weekend's hailstorms in the Region of Valencia caused considerable damage to agricultural producers, after more than 2,000 hectares of fruit trees were affected in Lleida and another 700 in Aragon.

French farmers block entrances to hypermarkets
On Friday 12th June at about 5.45 am farmers blocked the entrances to the Carrefour and Géant hypermarkets in Quimper. The farmers are objecting to the prices enforced by large retailers. Having already targeted Leclerc at the beginning of the week, police counted about 30 tractors and trailers on Friday. Town services cleared access to the Géant shopping mall mid-morning. The Minister of Agriculture, Stéphane Le Foll was in Brittany on Friday when the blockade occurred.

Green light for Greenyard Foods, Univeg and Peatinvest merger
Last Friday the majority of the shareholders for Greenyard Foods voted for the proposed merger with Univeg and Peatinvest. In May the European competition authority agreed to the merger. This made it possible for the companies to realize the merger.

"Ukraine could come in at such a volume where they would dominate Europe"
Green Team, Ukraine has appointed Colin Galbraith, Sales and Marketing Director at Moorhouse & Mohan to be a Senior Advisor to the Board as they make the move towards supplying the European fresh produce market.

NZ: Crop losses of up to 30% for parts of North Island
Flooding in parts of the Northern Island of New Zealand have caused crop losses as high as 30% for some growers affected, according to Leigh Catley, with Horticulture New Zealand. “We’ve had quite widespread flooding. Vegetable growers on the bottom half of the North Island have lost up to 30% of what was in the ground,” she told Fresh Plaza. Fruit growers on productive orchards, and in the areas around Whanganui, Palmerston North and Canterbury have been affected too, she said. Christchurch is the largest metropolitan city near the affected area.

UK: 2 confirmed interceptions of CBS
The first Citrus Black Spot interceptions of the South African citrus season have been made in the UK. Unconfirmed reports say that there have been three, all on lemons, but according to Justin Chadwick CEO of Citrus Grower's Association in South Africa, DEFRA has confirmed that there are only two.

The discoveries are said to have been made by a Spanish importer in the UK.

Promising season ahead for English Cherries
From a global perspective, UK growers have been late coming into cherry production, historically they had large trees and suffered attacks from birds and frequently rain destroyed the crops. Although these issues are still there, the growers are now using dwarfing stock and have invested in expensive covering systems to protect them from rain and birds.

Click here for the photo report

"The growers have made a lot of changes in varieties which have been planted, most of the UK growers now have modern varieties although there are some heritage ones still around. Growers are also very forward thinking and looking to invest in the new," explained Clark.

Greek trade hampered by current financial situation
The strenuous situation in Greece at the moment, marked by the temporary closure of all banks ahead of the referendum to be held on Sunday 5 July, has entailed difficulties for the country’s importers, many of whom are being forced to pay with cash. According to Evangelos Nenopoulos, of Fructa Union, this means “we cannot import many things; all companies in Greece have some stocks, but if the banks remain closed we may face a big problem.”

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