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Benjamí Ibars and Josep Presseguer, from Fruits de Ponent, on the alliance with Actel

This project is open to other producers; challenging times lie ahead, and by banding together, we will be stronger

At the latest edition of Fruit Logistica, in Berlin, the cooperatives Actel and Fruits de Ponent, both based in Lleida, announced a strategic alliance for the creation of a new limited company that will handle around 110,000 tons of fruit.

“With this agreement, they seek to gain bargaining power when dealing with large distributors and achieve greater efficiency in fruit handling and cost reduction, as well as better sales conditions and the possibility of obtaining more subsidies,” said Josep Presseguer, manager of Fruits de Ponent. “Now we will be able to specialize in customer-specific lines and guarantee their continuity. There will be two work centers, but the goal is for them to operate as one."

President Benjamí Ibars together with Josep Presseguer, manager of Fruits de Ponent

Of the 110,000 tons that the two entities will bring together (with very similar shares), between 75-80% will correspond to stone fruit, with a larger contribution from Fruits de Ponent, and the rest to apples and pears, which is Actel's specialty, although it also produces and markets other products, such as citrus, figs or pomegranates, among others.

In addition to Catalonia, Fruits de Ponent also has productions in Murcia, and Actel in Extremadura. “One of the major goals is to diversify and extend the production calendar with the plantations of both cooperatives. This could turn us into a very important player, as we will be able to start the campaign earlier and finish later, with a wide range of varieties in which we will continue to invest jointly,” said Benjamí Ibars, president of Fruits de Ponent. “This will also lead to greater job opportunities, as the activity in our centers will be extended for a longer period.”

“We have traditionally been fairly export-oriented, while Actel, while also exporting, has a greater domestic presence. Our vision as an exporter will be complemented by that of Actel, and together we aspire to become a strong exporting company,” said Josep Presseguer. “We share more or less the same markets and will act in a very complementary manner; otherwise, we would not have come so far in this project."

As for investments, automation will continue to be on the priority list. “It will be necessary to reformulate and establish a new investment and development plan that takes both of the realities coming together into account. We have already introduced a lot of technology both in the fields and the centers, but we cannot remain static,” said Josep Presseguer.

“We have a lot of work to do for the consolidation of both teams, to standardize our productions and reorganize our strategies,” said Benjamí Ibars. “This project is open to other companies or producers willing to work with us. It is an opportunity that is bringing hope to the people who still wish to make a living from agriculture. Difficult times are coming, and our goal is to persuade producers not to give up and provide maximum viability to our partners. Together we will be stronger," he said.

The great challenge of water for the next stone fruit campaign
The president of Fruits de Ponent mentioned that the water supply will be one of the major challenges for the stone fruit campaign this year. “We still have enough water, although just barely, like last year. There is still uncertainty, but we hope it will rain this spring and the reservoirs will be refilled so that the viability of our harvests can be ensured. The periods of high temperatures are increasingly longer, so more water will be needed. This is foreseen as a great challenge for the future.”

For more information:
Santi Bonet
Fruits de Ponent
M: +34 669127966
[email protected]

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