The major South American supplying countries are now more than ever partners to the Spanish and rest of the European fresh produce industry – not only as alternative suppliers but to ensure the food security of consumers across the continent. This is according to Carlo Porro, CEO of Agricola Famosa, the world’s largest melon grower and exporter from Brazil. This reality will serve as a key backdrop to many discussions at next week’s Fruit Attraction exhibition in Madrid that Porro and his team look forward to attending.
The partnership between the world’s leading melon and watermelon grower and exporter from Brazil, Agricola Famosa, and Spain’s Citri & Co. is a shining example of the collaboration needed in the fresh produce industry.
According to Porro exports to Europe are vital for his business and the region. “It is much more than very a good relationship, Citri&Co is formed by an elite group of growers, namely Martinavarro, Frutas Esther, Riotinto, Perales & Ferrer and now also with San Miguel, they are my partners. Famosa is starting to feel the benefit of the partnership. The first example is the creation of the company Melon & Co. 12 months ago. It has a very experienced team giving a direct service to the UK customers, which has proven to be a success. I am sure that this is the first of several initiatives that will benefit Famosa and the customers,” states Porro.
The first chartered ships filled exclusively with melons from Agricola Famosa in Brazil to Europe, docked in Rotterdam a few weeks ago.
“It is not enough in today’s world to just offer an excellent quality, or safe, sustainable, socially and environmentally correct products; growers need to be able to guarantee that the fruit will reach the customer at the right time after a quite long and complicated transit time. For this reason we have decided that part of our production, around 35%, will travel in a specialised and dedicated service with Green Sea/Sea Trade. This decision meant we had to make serious investments in trucks and infrastructure in Brazil. This while the other 65% of our exports will continue to be sent by CMA-CGM, our main logistical partner over more than 25 years. At Famosa we believe that quality and service are always recognized, so this move and effort was essential in today’s logistical chaos.”
Porro has a special message to the industry: “To all involved in our sector it is, especially for products like ours (seed crops), but not just those, planning is vital to guarantee availability and correct costs. The supply chain of materials, in addition to the logistics situation, had a tremendous impact in our sector, due to the fact that growers, retailers, distributors and service providers need to be closer than ever to be able to meet demand and deliver a good service.”
These are some of the reasons why Porro and his team will be present at Fruit Attraction 2022. “Attending Fruit Attraction is important because we will be at the early part of our season (week 33 to week 8), all customers have already received the first weeks of production, so it is a very good moment to plan the end of our season, including the extension season that goes from week 9 to week 20.”
Porro highlights the importance of the European market, not only for Famosa but for all South American exporting countries. “The European market is the most important market for Famosa and for sure for our region. The social impact that the fruit activity has in our region is immense. I personally saw a huge change in our countries over the past 30 years. The sons of illiterate field workers became agronomists, administrators, entrepreneurs and managers in several positions of our operation and our region and country. This has completely changed the lives and future of thousands of families over the past 30 years. It is very important to remember that we are in the most populated semi-arid region in the world. A very poor region where our industry is one of the very few options for these people, but in addition offers very good chances of prosperity.”
“The cost of production in addition to logistical costs are inflating the final cost of our products. In the case of Famosa and Brazil, we are paying a lot on duty to access the market – it would be great for growers, exporters and Europeans, as the final consumers, if this situation changes,” requests Porro.
Porro and his team invite visitors to their Fruit Attraction stand: Hall 03 – Stand 3B07 and 3C07.