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Heider Cabral, Abanorte

"Brazil: "Biggest challenge for Jaiba lies in logistics"

Abanorte is a Brazilian fruit growers association with about 2,400 producers under its umbrella, including cooperatives, local associations, companies and individual growers. It produces about 1,400 tonnes of fresh fruit every day only in the Jaiba region of Minas Gerais.

According to Heider Cabral, marketing manager of Abanorte, during a presentation the recent Cool Logistics Conference in Rotterdam, “the climate conditions of the region are quite unique, with an average of 7.4 hours of sunshine per day and an average minimum temperature of 18 degrees Celsius and maximum of 35, with almost no rainfall.”

The region benefits from the Jaiba irrigation project. There are 80,000 hectares irrigated with a 500 kilometre long distribution system, and 40% of that is currently being used. “This means there is still potential to develop the other 60%,” affirms Heider. “Our goal is to improve the relationship between government, markets, growers and final consumers, bringing power to the businesses and to society.”

Some of the region’s products include Prata bananas, limes, mangoes and papayas. (For more information on Prata bananas, see this article). “For the limes, 60% goes to the domestic market and the rest is shipped to destinations like the UK, Asia or Canada, and for the mangoes (Palmer), 90% is sold internally and 10% is exported,” explains Heider.

Because of its special climate, the region is capable of producing fruit 11 months a year. “The domestic market, with its growing demand, currently consumes much of the production, but if we develop the other 60% of the project, we’ll have to look to other world markets, and that’s what we are willing to do.”

The biggest challenge for Region of Jaiba lies in logistics, with the cost of shipping a four feet container to Salvador reaching 2,450 dollars; mostly due to the poor state of the roads.

“We already have low production costs, so we really need to collaborate, along with the government, to improve logistically,” affirms Heider. “We are also working in the development of a professional distributor chain in the EU. The end goal is to allow the growers to ship their fruit and give consumers a wider choice of tropical fruit.”