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"The raspberry market is very volatile and diverse every year"

Bfruit is a grower´s organization of berries and kiwi, located in Portugal with some production all over the country. Filipa Bragança, Manager of Bfruit, states their aim is to increase production and add unique varieties to the offer of Portugal: "Our blueberry production is concentrated in the North of the country, whilst our raspberry production is found on the Vicentina coast in the south. In 2020, Bfruit joined the Hortifrut family, with Hortifrut also becoming a shareholder in Bfruit. Both companies have a common strategy to increase areas of berries production with exclusive and unique varieties in Portugal, sharing technical knowledge and broadening the offer to the market while adding value to all the chain."

Bragança feels that the business has become more challenging over the past few years, with new problems popping up. "Berry production in general has been a challenge, not only in the past months, but in the past years. Growers face water restrictions, climate change, lack of seasons as we used to know them, limitations on the use of production factors, demanding markets requiring numerous certifications, competition, cost increase of energy, oil, products, sustainable farming and above all cost manpower to farm."

For the commercialization of the berries, Bfruit integrates Hortifrut commercial and marketing platform. Bragança states this is strengthening their position in the market of berries: "Our main markets for the raspberry are Scandinavia, UK, France, Germany, Italy, Spain and Portugal. From our point of view there is still demand for high quality raspberries, although in the past year we did see a decrease in consumption, mainly provoked by a decrease in the offer. Last year during mid-season, there was a huge lack of raspberry offer in the market from all origins, prices per kilogram even reached the €16. This year, exactly in the same period, there was volume being offered sourced mainly from Agadir and prices level of €8 per kilogram. The raspberry market is very volatile and diverse every year as all players in the market plan their production differently every year and weather conditions strongly affect production cycles."

According to Bragança, there are several challenges when exporting raspberries. "The genetics, having a strong variety with great shelf life, consistency and flavour that will differentiate from the competition. Transportation and logistics, the weekly cost increase of oil and also efficient transport, maintaining the cold chain. Preserving the quality, the quality standards and regulations complying with the requirements of different countries pesticide residues, packaging, phytosanitary restrictions. But also, sustainable farming, involving practices that are environmentally friendly, economically viable, and socially responsible. Meanwhile there's dealing with the competition. The global raspberry market is very competitive, growers need to differentiate their products, maintain consistent quality and explore markets to stand out."

"We are constantly making investment and efforts to find new solutions to overcome these challenges. We invest in research and development to improve crop resilience, disease resistance, flavor, color and yield. Bfruit integrates technology in raspberry farming, such as precision agriculture to optimize irrigation, monitor soil health, data analytics, and sensor technologies to enhance overall crop management. We've developed trial fields in order to test new plant varieties, hybrids, and genetically modified crops, identifying and selecting the best-performing plants with the most desirable traits such as resistance to pests and diseases, increased yield, or improved nutritional content."

The Portuguese raspberries benefit from the Atlantic breeze or the influence of the Atlantic Ocean on the climate that play a significant role in agricultural conditions, says Bragança: "The Vicentina coast experiences a maritime climate, characterized by milder temperatures, which create the perfect condition for the raspberry production corresponding to the demands of the most demanding client. These climate conditions added to a very professional organization, such as Bfruit, allows us to differentiate from the competition. Also, we aim to diversify market presence exploring into new markets to reduce dependency on a single market. For the upcoming months, we expect to export around 2000tons of raspberry. Hopefully the weather conditions, consumption trends and global economic circumstances will allow us to have a successful season."

For more information:
Filipa Bragança
Tel: +351 919295881