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Prospects for Brazil and Argentina's next apple season

Argentina's apple season will start in January with Gala apples and its varieties.

"We expect a full production; there were no frost-related complications and the weather has been suitable," affirms Raúl Ferragut, press secretary of the Federation of Fruit Growers of Río Negro y Neuquén. 

Compared to the previous season, the acreage has not increased; Argentinian producers are cautious and there is much uncertainty. 

"High costs are a cause for concern; the exchange rate does not favour exports," explains Raúl, adding that "while wages in Argentina are higher than in other countries, and they have increased by about 30 % in a year, what truly reduces the industry's competitiveness is the tax burden."

Argentina's prospects are set on the potential of Russia as an importer, and not long ago the Government sent a trade mission seeking closer ties with Russian buyers.

According to Ferragut, "the Russian veto is a double-edged sword." While Argentinians know that Russia will buy them more fruit, they fear that European producers will seek to enter the Brazilian market, which is vital for Argentina's top fruit sector. 

As in Argentina, Brazil's acreage devoted to apple cultivation has not recently increased, but producers are confident about their chances to achieve good sales in the Russian market. 

"We expect growth in the Russian market; we attended the World Fruit Moscow and many Russian supermarkets were interested in apples from Brazil," explains Rafael Negrini, of Fischer S/A. 

The Fischer Group, with an annual production of 150,000 tonnes, is Brazil's largest apple producer and exporter, and in a previous interview with FreshPlaza he already announced plans to expand into the Russian market and India.

"The Russian market is interested in both Fuji and Gala, and for those varieties we can provide better quality than Argentina and Chile at a competitive price," concludes Rafael.

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