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Brazil: Attractive domestic market and drought reduce melon exports

Brazil is suffering the worst drought in recent years and melons are not immune to its effects. 

"Droughts have reduced exports and the domestic market's supply and have caused salinity problems in the water supply in farms in Mossoró, Rio Grande do Norte, forcing growers to plant less or find production areas in other regions. The leafminer pest issue also became more severe, as moisture is the insect's natural enemy and with dry weather it proliferates," says Adriana Prado, Marketing & Logistics Manager at Itaueira Agropecuária S.A.

Itaueira's 2,500 hectares of melon plantations are distributed strategically among the Brazilian states of Ceará, Piauí and Bahia, allowing them to produce all year-round.

Itaueira has over 2,500 hectares devoted to melon crops

Adriana explains that in the past the company exported up to 50% of its production, but in recent years they have started shipping just between 7 and 10%, as prices in the domestic market continue to improve. 

"Brazil's economy continues to grow and every year the number of people who demand the best quality fruit increases," she says, adding: "Brazilians are increasingly concerned about having a healthy lifestyle. They are interested in natural products and want to know more about the ingredients of industrial products," states Adriana. 

According to Adriana, the differences between Itaueira and other melon producers are key to the company's success.

"We focus on flavour; we do not pursue to be the biggest, but the best producer in Brazil. We don't just sell melons, but offer the highest quality to niche markets seeking tastier fruits. We care a lot about the social aspects involving our partners, and we are also very innovative; our traceability system is unique in the country and received a GS1 award for its revolutionary character within the Brazilian industry."

The company is greatly interested in further developing the market for minimally processed fruit.

"We were collaborating in Brazil with the company Blue Skies, but they are no longer in the market. We are still conducting tests with other companies and looking for one to sign a partnership with. 

In the U.S. and Canada we are already more advanced and work with excellent companies that process our melons for retailers to which we already supplied our fresh fruit. In Europe, some chains are already processing our melons themselves for their customers, but we do not have any deals with a company to do that exclusively for us," explains Adriana.

Recently, at the PMA Fresh Summit in Anaheim, California, Itaueira presented an innovative premium product.

We are already selling the new Extra Sweet Sliced Melon ​​REI in the U.S. and Canada and it's had an excellent success. It makes maximum use of the fruit, which consequently reduces costs and retail prices. The visual impact of the yellow skin of the Canary melon, considered an exotic, is also great and attracts consumers. We are organising tastings at stores so that consumers can try them and enjoy them with family and friends," she concludes.

For more information:
Adriana Prado
Intl Marketing & Log
Itaueira Agropecuária S.A.
M:+55 85 9982-7024
[email protected]
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