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December 2014

A month of firsts and weather disruption

At the beginning of December the Rouble had reached a new low. Russia had doubts about Switzerland’s export figures. The Alpine country exported a lot more to Russia since the boycott, which causes Russia to suspect banned products are also being exported. By the 17th the rouble had gone into free fall, and Putin was elected 'man of the year' in his country. The devaluation of the rouble and the weak economic position has consequences for fresh produce importers in Russia.

Port problems in the West US were changing the market situation. Some fruit that was targeted for export to the Far East is being pulled back and sold in North American markets.

On 17th December Vietnam decided to suspend imports of fruits from Australia for concerns over fruit fly, according to the Department of Plant Protection under Vietnam's Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development.

Ecuador's Ministry of Agriculture raised the price of a box of bananas for export to 6.55 dollars for 2015 This was an of increase of more than 9%.

And after years of negotiation and dealing with technical issues, the South African Apple and Pear Producers’ Association (SAAPPA) proudly announced that the Apple Export Protocol to enable apple exports to China, had been approved and signed this month.

This month also saw the start of an FTA between Australia and Korea meaning import duties would drop from 24% to 0%, making Australian cherries very attractive.

In mid December Argentina sent the first cherries directly from fields into Hong Kong via air.

As the Indian grape harvest got underway Indian companies were looking for opportunities in China and Russia but the main market would continue to be Continental Europe.

Spain was warning of possible cucumber shortages during the Christmas campaign. The interprofessional organisation for fruit and vegetables of Andalusia, Hortyfruta, met urgently to discuss the problems that could arise.

Greenhouses in Morocco were severely affected by storms, with serious losses to growers of tomatoes, peppers, carrots and other crops. Thousands of metres of plastic and structures were destroyed, to which the risk of diseases caused by fungi as a result of the excess moisture would be added.

The 2014-2015 Chilean table grape season began in the first week of December, one week later than in the 2013-2014 season but with a higher volume, but in mid December Chile was also suffering from the weather when rains cut cherry export by 15%

Rain and hail also caused havoc in India when the grape producing area of Nashik was hit sources said around 30% of the crop could be damaged.

Argentina's blueberry production increased 200% compared to 2013 as a result of the season's mild weather conditions.

Export sales of American sweet potatoes surged 80% in the past five years reaching a record $95 million, reported the American Sweet Potato Marketing Institute (ASPMI). Exports have jumped sharply to regions targeted by the association’s international market development efforts, and are continuing to rise this year.

British growers announced that this year’s strawberry crop had broken records, with a staggering 60,170 tonnes already produced – an increase of eight per cent since 2013.

Canada's Cranberry production neared 1 million pounds as the size of the Newfoundland and Labrador cranberry crop almost doubled this year over last year.

SUNSET® has beenrevolutionizing the North American greenhouse industry by growing uniquely flavourful tomatoes, peppers and cucumbers. In December, after years of trials, they’veintroduced the first volumes of big sweet winter strawberries in a dedicated greenhouse.

New Zealand exports to China's Taiwan have risen by more than 20 percent in the last year since a two-way free trade agreement, the New Zealand government announced this month.

UK importer Pacific Produce is shipped Ataulfo mangoes to the UK, for the first time this month. They did this via seafreight instead of the normal airfreight which would considerably reduce the price.

Looking forward to 2015, the nominees were announced for Fruit Logistca Innovation Award 2015