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  Freshfel Press Review 19 - 25/05/2010   Print this newsletter Default font size Large font size XL font size  ¦  Save as PDF  

Inside this issue:



Australia – Growers prepare aggressive publicity campaign

25 May 2010 (Daily Telegraph) – Chinese apples will be branded as second-rate in a new multi-million dollar ad blitz by Australian farmers. Local apple growers estimated they could lose $30 million if the Federal Government approved the importation of Chinese apples later this year. Apple and Pear Australia general manager Tony Russell said the industry must be ready for imports. He said domestic growers had pumped millions into their orchards to cut production costs in preparation for overseas competition.

EU – Request for quicker authorisation procedures

24 May 2010 (Agencia EFE) – The European Crop Protection Association has requested that the European Commission be quicker to authorise products to combat certain plagues entering in Europe, such as those attacking citrus fruits. Current authorisation procedures are deemed too long by the association.

EU – Farmers against a Mercosur agreement

24 May 2010 (El Mundo) – According to the Agrarian association COAG, some fruits and vegetables, particularly citrus fruits will be very affected by an agreement of the EU with Mercosur (Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay). If taking into account also other products, the agreement would provoke looses of around €3.000 to 5.000 million yearly in the EU.

Spain – Strawberry campaign could be prolonged until mid-June

23 May 2010 (Europa Press) – Freshuelva, Huelva’s association of strawberries growers and marketers, has announced that despite a decrease in volume, the strawberries coming to the market are of excellent condition, with what the campaign could be prolonged until mid-June, so that farmers profit the maximum after the negative weather conditions in the winter.

Spain – Canary Islands request banana compensations

22 May 2010 (ABC) – The President of the Autonomous Spanish Region of Canary Islands has insisted, in line with President Sarkozy requests from the French outermost regions, in the necessity of fixing “compensations” so that the islands bananas remain competitive, in view of the new association agreement between EU and Central American countries.

Italy – 99,9% of fruit and vegetables respect MRLs

22 May 2010 (ANSA) – According to Coldiretti, the Italian Ministry of Health is about to release its annual report on phytosanitary residues in horticultural products, and the good results show that 98,85% of fruits and 98,76% of vegetables have only residues under the legal maximum limits. Moreover, the presence of illegal produce has gone down from 5,56% in 1993 to 1,2% in the last official report.

Italy – Fruit at the beach

22 May 2010 (La Nazione) – The Italian Agriculture Cooperative, Apofruit Italia, has presented a new project “Fruit at the beach” to promote consumption of fresh fruit, organic and PGI (protected geographical indication) in summer locations, hotels and public places.

New Zealand – Kiwifruit battle on hold

22 May 2010 (Hawke’s Bay Today) – The major battle in the High Court between produce company Turners & Growers and Zespri has been put off until May next year. T&G claims that kiwifruit exporter Zespri has abused its dominant position.

Spain – Imports and Exports balance in the first trimester

21 May 2010 (Agencia EFE) – According to Fepex, fruit and vegetables imports in Spain during the first trimester of 2010 have gone down a 10% in value, reaching €350 million, and a 4% in volume, reaching 656.363 tonnes, compared to the same period in 2009. For the same period, exports of Spanish fruit and vegetables have also gone down in volume by 6%, reaching 2,6 million tonnes, but have gone up by 5% in value, reaching €2.631 million.

USA – Cherry crop looks promising

20 May 2010 (Tri-City Herald) – Northwest cherry growers expect a smaller crop this year than the record-setting 2009 crop, to the relief of many in the industry. Growers predicted a 2010 crop of 138,726 tons during a meeting of the 5-State Cherry Commission and the Washington State Fruit Commission. That’s far less than the 2009 five-state crop of 195,488 tons, which yielded some cherries that were too small to meet market demand, forcing some growers to just leave them on trees.

Belgium - Belgian food chain adopts voluntary code of practice

20 May 2010 (VILT) – Food chain operators in Belgium have set out a code of conduct that aims to streamline the supply and production chain and avoid extreme price fluctuations in the future. Signatories include agricultural groups (ABS, Boerenbond, FWA) and distributors (FEDIS), as well as food industry (FEVIA). The organisations said the voluntary code is starting out as a national initiative, but they hope it will ultimately extend to other European countries. As part of the recommendations, suppliers and purchasers in the food chain will agree to exchange information on market trends in order to allow suppliers to adapt and diversify their offering according to demand. Purchasers also agree to source local products that are competitively positioned – both in terms of price and quality – and to ensure careful handling of these. Buyers also commit to promote and respect agreed payment terms as part of a wider agreement on supply terms.

Chile – Antonio Walker elected president of Fedefruta

19 May 2010 (Noticias Financieras) – Antonio Walker Prieto has been elected as President of Fedefruta, the Chilean Federation of Fruit Producers, replacing Rodrigo Echeverria Diaz.

EU / Central America – A historic Agreement

19 May 2010 (Europa Press, Agencia EFE, Noticias Financieras) – The European Union and Central America signed a “historic” agreement, which according to first estimations, should increase by €2.500 million export benefits for both parties. The agreement will mean a decrease on the banana tariff, from €145/ton at the end of the year, to €75/ton in January 2020. Ecuador, that is not part of the agreement, will restart negotiations with the EU in June.

Spain – 2009 number one in surface dedicated to organic agriculture

18 May 2010 (Hoy) – According to data by the Spanish Ministry of Agriculture, in 2009 Spain was, for the second year in a row, number one on the European countries ranking of surface dedicated to organic agriculture (with 1,6 million hectares), and was situated number six on the world ranking. However, organic farming of vegetables (1,22%), fruit (0,93%) or citrus (0,83%) remain minimal.

Ireland – €77m berry market growing rosier

18 May 2010 (Irish Examiner) – The growing Irish berry market is valued at €77 million a year, according to the latest Bord Bia figures. Retail sales of blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, currants and gooseberries increased by 53% in the past year to a current market value of €32m while strawberries are worth a further €45m annually. Blueberries alone are worth over €18m, a sharp increase from 2006 when they were worth €5m.

USA – State citrus taxes raised

18 May 2010 (The Ledger) – Gov. Crist´s veto of an agriculture bill meant Florida Department of Citrus officials were looking to find more than $2 million to replace lost money for disease research. The veto spurred the Citrus Department to increase previously planned tax rates for the 2010-11 season by 2 cents for all varieties to raise the additional research money.

France – Retailers to cut their margins on fruit and vegetables in case of crisis

18 May 2010 (Libération) – Under heavy pressure from the French president, the French retail federation eventually accepted to sign an agreement entailing a reduction of the margins for fresh fruit and vegetables when a product would be in a crisis situation (i.e. price lower than the 5-year average). Retailers which would not comply with the measure would face retaliatory taxes. Farmer organisations already criticised the agreement as only guaranteeing the consumer that the retailer would not abuse the situation, while not offering any guarantee for a fair revenue to the farmer.

France – Overregulation affects French competitiveness

17 May 2010 (Les Echos) – French agriculture is losing market share on the EU market, it’s main outlet. The French farmers’ organisation (FNSEA) denounces French overregulation which increases production costs. A recent report, commissioned by the organisation cites many examples of overregulation, notably the reduced availability of pesticides, the reduced premium for electricity from co-generation projects and the lower wages for seasonal workers. The organisation noted that production area of vegetables has decreased with 15% in the last 10 years, while it increased with 20% in Germany and the Netherlands.