February 23, 2015 / Week N° 09

Archive for the Interviews Category

U.S. West Coast port workers reach tentative deal

February 21st, 2015

An end to the debilitating U.S. West Coast port dispute may be in sight after the PMA and the ILWU agreed to a new contract.

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Q&A: Total Produce on the changing dynamics of European produce markets

February 20th, 2015

The head of Europe’s largest fresh produce distributor says a prolonged Russian import ban would lead to structural changes, but is upbeat about prospects for berries, organics and exotics in Mediterranean markets.

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U.S. port row has compromised US$50M in Chilean fruit exports, says Fedefruta

February 19th, 2015

The U.S. Ambassador to Chile received leaders of Fedefruta yesterday to discuss effects from the West Coast port dispute.

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Uber teams up with Xianfeng for Chinese fruit discount service

February 19th, 2015

While Uber has been banned in many countries, the app is growing rapidly in China where it is also involved with fresh produce in one city.

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Imported fruit losing exotic appeal in China, says trader

February 19th, 2015

China’s efforts to halt corruption have affected gift giving, and therefore the sales of imported Australian premium fruits.

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Raspberries may be culprit in Australian Hep A outbreak

February 18th, 2015

The Australian distributor that recalled frozen berry products is concentrating on raspberries from a specific source in China as a possible cause of the recent Hepatitis A outbreak.

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USDA considers allowing avocado imports from second Mexican state

February 18th, 2015

Mexico’s second-largest avocado production state could soon be allowed to ship the Hass variety to the U.S.

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U.S.: Perez port meetings ‘positive and productive’

February 18th, 2015

The U.S. Department of Labor says Secretary Perez yesterday told both parties in the West Coast port conflict an immediate agreement was ‘imperative’.

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U.S.: Fresh Del Monte back in the black

February 17th, 2015

Higher selling prices and greater banana volumes helped a leading produce multinational shake off its 2013 loss to record a net income of US$142.4 million for 2014.

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China: Food smuggling case in national media spotlight

February 17th, 2015

The floodgates have opened in China’s crackdown on agricultural import smuggling and customs evasion, with local media reporting that 33 people have been arrested in a recent high-profile case.

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Chilean fruit industry denies links to Australian Hep A scare

February 16th, 2015

The Chilean Association of Fruit Exporters (ASOEX) has emphasized its country’s fruit is not to blame for a recent recall of frozen berry products in Australia.

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U.S.: Obama steps in to resolve West Coast port dispute

February 15th, 2015

The White House is intervening in the West Coast port conflict with the aim of a quick resolution.

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Univeg statement responds to merger rumors

February 13th, 2015

Amid reports of a possible initial public offering, Univeg clarifies a board member’s position.

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U.S.: Western Growers urges Obama to engage in port conflict

February 13th, 2015

Tom Nassif releases a statement on the ‘nightmarish situation’ in West Coast ports.

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U.S.: West Coast port employer to temporarily halt operations

February 11th, 2015

The Pacific Maritime Association says it cannot justify paying union workers premium rates over the upcoming weekend and holidays, while the union says the employers’ actions are “bad for the industry and the U.S. economy.”

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South Africa alleges “inconsistent” citrus inspections in Southern Europe

February 11th, 2015

“Viability” is a term that could revive South Africa’s stability in the European citrus market, where talks are lined up aiming to remove discrepancies in citrus black spot (CBS) inspection methods.

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Chiquita faces another eco-lawsuit

February 11th, 2015

A Seattle-based law firm alleges that Chiquita produces bananas in such a way that poisons local residents.

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Southern Hemisphere expects larger pome fruit crop

February 10th, 2015

While Southern Hemisphere apple production is expected to increase 5%, exports are anticipated to decline by the same percentage partly due to oversupply issues in Europe.

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Serbia: Russian embargo “no good for anybody”, says Apple World founder

February 10th, 2015

One Serbian grower says he’d rather have a level playing field than the comparative benefits of Russian market access.

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California: Port situation ‘couldn’t have happened at a worse time’, says CCM

February 10th, 2015

The California Citrus Mutual estimates exports this so far this season are 25% lower than planned.

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New U.S.-South Africa Avocado Committee seeks to overcome trade barriers

February 9th, 2015

Amid soaring U.S. avocado demand, the first U.S.-South Africa agricultural committee has been set up.

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Inside one of Europe’s largest banana ripening facilities

February 9th, 2015

The head of a major U.K. banana ripening facility likens the business to a ‘hamster wheel’, and says reputations can be ‘built over years and lost in days’.

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Israeli papaya breeder wins Fruit Logistica Innovation Award

February 6th, 2015

Aviv Flowers Packing House has taken one of the produce industry’s most prestigious prizes, with a seedless papaya that boasts a complex flavor, a long shelf life and a lack of any pungent aftertaste.

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U.S.: Pacific Maritime Association makes “all-in” offer to ILWU

February 5th, 2015

The president of the Pacific Maritime Association has said West Coast ports are “truly close to gridlock”, and that the latest contract offer is “as far as we can go at this point.”

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U.S.: Researchers develop ‘fast, easy and accurate’ citrus greening detector

February 5th, 2015

A portable and inexpensive citrus greening detector developed by University of Florida scientists could soon be available to citrus growers.

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Nanotechnology to open doors for Asian mango exporters

February 4th, 2015

A collaborative project funded by the International Development Research Centre has shown nanotechnology could help boost Asian mango shippers’ profits by 15%.

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Total Produce buys 50% stake in Gambles Group

February 3rd, 2015

Total produce has expanded its North American operations with a 50% shareholding acquisition of the Canadian fresh produce company Gambles Group.

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New ‘Gem’ pear variety jointly released in U.S.

February 2nd, 2015

The U.S. Agricultural Research Service and three universities have jointly released a high-yielding and fire blight-resistant pear cultivar.

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Chilean cherry prices in China ‘significantly’ lower than previous season

February 2nd, 2015

Some arrivals of Chilean cherries in China will not be opened for a few weeks when demand is due to increase.

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Capespan to step up South African topfruit production

January 30th, 2015

Capespan aims to bring its total South African pome fruit production land to 630 hectares in three years.

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U.S. apple shippers aim for greater slice of Chinese market pie

January 29th, 2015

Eight U.S. apple varieties have been singled out for promotional activity in China following a recent market opening.

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U.S.: West Coast port users express shock at ‘unbelievable’ congestion

January 28th, 2015

U.S. customs broker J&K Fresh says the U.S. port situation is ‘almost worse than if they were striking’ due to the uncertainty, while the Global Reefers head says he’s never seen anything like this on the West Coast.

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Indonesia joins Asian neighbors in California apple import ban

January 27th, 2015

Citing uncertainty around possible listeria outbreaks due to regional trade, the Indonesian Government has banned certain U.S. apples from the market.

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New CEO for Sun World

January 27th, 2015

With a new CEO at the helm, Sun World will progress in its California grape planting program and will be pulling out of some crops.

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U.S.: Listeria apple media claims in Asia “outlandish”, says Powers

January 27th, 2015

A Northwest Horticultural Council representative says a ‘very difficult situation’ has arisen from inaccurate reports in Asia-Pacific countries about the recall of some U.S. apples.

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U.S. gains Chinese market access for all apple varieties

January 26th, 2015

Bilateral talks between the USDA and AQSIQ have led to China granting market access for all apple varieties from all U.S. apple-growing regions.

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First Mexican blackberries and raspberries arrive in China

January 26th, 2015

Both Driscoll’s and Naturipe have capitalized on China’s recent opening for Mexican berries.

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Australia: Costa Group closes two grape farms

January 26th, 2015

A Costa representative cited a ‘changed industry and market conditions’ as one reason why the company has decided to reduce its ‘grape farming footprint’.

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Chinese authorities launch fresh investigation into fruit imports

January 22nd, 2015

At least one major Chinese fruit importer has had staff summoned by authorities as part of an investigation into a customs broker.

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U.S.: Chiquita puts price tag on Charlotte exit

January 22nd, 2015

Severance payments, relocation costs and incentive refunds are set to tally up to tens of millions of dollars for Chiquita Brands as part of its move out of Charlotte.

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Australia: Costa family ponders IPO

January 22nd, 2015

Australia’s largest privately-owned produce company may change hands through a share market listing or an outright sale.

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‘The ball is in the West’s court’ to solve food import ban, says Russian minister

January 21st, 2015

The ruble may be on the mend and diplomats are hopeful for a Russia-EU agricultural trade resolution, but challenges still remain.

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U.S.: No strike today at Hunts Point Terminal Market

January 18th, 2015

The biggest fruit market in the U.S. has averted a strike action that could have taken place today, after a tentative wage deal was reached.

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U.S.: “Contingency plans in place” for Hunts Point Terminal Market

January 16th, 2015

The Hunts Point Produce Cooperative was just “pennies per hour apart” from the last offer proposed by unionists who are threatening to strike.

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U.S.: Hunts Point union negotiations aim to ward off strikes

January 16th, 2015

Hunts Point Terminal in the Bronx supplies 9% of the U.S. population with fruits and vegetables every day, but the operation could grind to a standstill on Sunday if a deal is not reached with the Teamsters union.

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U.S.: Calavo forecasts new record earnings in 2015

January 15th, 2015

Calavo Growers CEO Lee Cole says all indicators are “pointing affirmatively” this year, after the company notched solid results for 2014.

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Australia gains U.S. access for mangoes, litchis

January 14th, 2015

While most Australian litchi and mango growers have traditionally focused on the domestic market, they will now have a new sales outlet thanks to the official opening of the U.S. market for their crops.

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U.S.: Chiquita shuts up shop in Charlotte

January 14th, 2015

Chiquita vowed in March that it would keep its headquarters in Charlotte, but that has changed under the new ownership of Cutrale-Safra.

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Mastronardi launches new U.S. pepper greenhouse venture

January 13th, 2015

Building on a successful Michigan tomato operation, Sunset Produce will soon grow peppers in a large-scale U.S. pepper greenhouse.

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German and Russian ag ministers to meet in Berlin

January 13th, 2015

Hopes are high that talks between German and Russian ministers will help ease trade restrictions on food products.

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Fuel price drop sparks reefer ‘renaissance’, says Cool Carriers

January 12th, 2015

Baltic Reefers could not have chosen a more apt time to buy NYK Cool, which under a new name is steaming ahead with new produce trade contracts.

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Chile: San Antonio port strike lifted

January 9th, 2015

Fetraportces workers were threatening to block fruit-shipping terminals, but their strike action has finished after reaching a deal with Puerto Central.

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Europe to hold vote on Indian mango ban

January 8th, 2015

A Defra spokesperson has confirmed the European Commission will vote soon on whether to lift a ban on Indian mangoes.

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Euro Watch: Exporter ‘flexibility’ needed to avoid a cease in trade

January 8th, 2015

A weak euro may push some fruit importers to abandon the trade of certain products as a last resort.

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Leadership transition for Chiquita Brands

January 7th, 2015

Brian Kocher will serve as interim CEO of the new privately-owned Chiquita Brands International.

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Are illegal stowaways a threat to the U.K.’s fresh produce industry?

January 7th, 2015

Truckloads of fruit are sometimes rejected in the U.K. due to the presence of illegal immigrants hiding in shipments.

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Cutrale-Safra completes tender offer for Chiquita

January 6th, 2015

With a tender offer now complete, the Brazilian takeover of Chiquita Brands is right around the corner.

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Chilean fruit exporters worried about San Antonio port strike

January 6th, 2015

Fedefruta hopes a port workers’ union in San Antonio will make good on a promise not to suspend the export of perishables during strikes.

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South African fruit firm buys Dutch exotics importer

January 6th, 2015

Halls will be expanding its presence in the European exotic fruit market.

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Water levels in key Chilean production region ‘critical’

January 5th, 2015

A report says the already dire situation in Chile’s Coquimbo region where water scarcity will only get worse.

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Thermo King says exporters can reach new destinations with ‘active’ CA tech

January 5th, 2015

By using technology that actively controls the atmosphere in reefer containers, Thermo King says produce can be shipped much further than normal while retaining much of its original quality.

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Year 2014 in Review – Second Half

December 30th, 2014

The Chiquita takeover, Russia’s produce ban, Andy Hall’s defamation case, improved U.S.-China relations and Australian FTAs were some of the leading produce news topics of 2014.

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Year 2014 in Review – First Half

December 29th, 2014

Warning signs for a potential Russian produce embargo were at play during an eventful first half of 2014.

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Costa Rica grants environmental approval for APM Terminals project

December 19th, 2014

A US$1 billion port project in Costa Rica has been given the green light by environmental authorities.

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Argentine cherries reach Hong Kong market

December 19th, 2014

Argentine cherry exports have been made more viable with the help of direct flights from Patagonia to international markets.

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U.K.: Waitrose offers up Brazilian grape selection

December 18th, 2014

Waitrose will stock various table grape varieties such as Sweet Mayabelle for the festive season.

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U.S.: West Coast port talks end ‘not close’, says employer

December 18th, 2014

The Pacific Maritime Association says rumors that the negotiations are close to a final contract are not true and both sides remain apart on several issues.

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NZ: Zespri considers Chinese kiwifruit production partnerships

December 15th, 2014

Zespri’s Matt Crawford discusses production possibilities in China and a red kiwifruit variety trialled in Singapore.

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U.S.: California court takes Dole’s side in fruit mix labeling case

December 12th, 2014

A California court has denied a consumer’s allegation that Dole’s use of ascorbic and citric acids in packaged products makes the label “All Natural Fruit” misleading.

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Watermelon sourced from the Canary Islands boosts supply for Hillfresh

December 12th, 2014

The first batches of Canary Islands watermelons have arrived in the Netherlands in a new Ramafrut-Hillfresh deal.

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China intercepts fungus in Chilean blueberry shipment

December 12th, 2014

Chilean blueberry exporters will need to be on the lookout for stem canker in their packing lines.

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U.S.: West Coast exporters ‘substantially delayed’, says Western Growers

December 5th, 2014

Western Growers says there are exporters ‘backing off’ their shipping volumes due to congestion in West Coast ports, and it is unclear when conditions will begin to improve.

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China green lights South African apple imports

December 4th, 2014

The South African apple industry hopes the new Chinese market access will act as a ‘springboard’ to enter other Asian countries in the future.

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The Packaging Pitch: Cauliflower to take kale’s food trend reign in 2015

December 4th, 2014

Marketing expert Lisa Cork says a shift to low carb diets will make cauliflower a hot crop to watch in 2015.

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Decofrut forecasts 17% fall in Chilean cherry exports

December 3rd, 2014

A Chilean consultancy has provided a variety-by-variety glimpse of cherry damages in the wake of weekend rains.

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Hapag-Lloyd and CSAV finalize shipping merger

December 2nd, 2014

Hapag-Lloyd and CSAV have completed their tie up to become the world’s fourth-largest container liner shipping company, with expected annual sales of US$12 billion.

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Spain: Laser Food signs global deal with US$900M equipment group

December 2nd, 2014

A laser labeling technology is coming to the U.S. produce industry, and potentially anywhere that JBT Corporation has customers.

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Doubts linger after brief Chilean port strike

November 27th, 2014

Chile’s cherry and blueberry industries have very different views on the effects of recent port strikes.

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Mission Produce teams up with Lantao for Chinese avocado sales

November 27th, 2014

Mission Produce has raised its avocado sales in China by 15% since a partnership was reached with Lantao.

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U.S: new fumigation method allows for greater fruit volumes

November 27th, 2014

Exporters whose fruit requires fumigation in the U.S. now have a much more practical solution on offer in Florida.

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Russia may include Switzerland in produce import embargo

November 26th, 2014

A 400-fold increase in Swiss apple exports to Russia has sparked suspicions of smuggling to avoid a trade ban on EU produce.

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Field management app Eland gains ground in Argentina and Chile

November 24th, 2014

Originally designed for commodity crops, an Argentine field management app is making an impact in Chile’s fruit and vegetable sector.

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U.S. rules hit Chilean organic blueberry hectares, says North Bay

November 21st, 2014

North Bay Produce’s Ruy Barbosa talks about Chilean blueberry uniformity and the implications of fumigation measures.

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Japanese market opens for fumigation-free Chilean cherries

November 20th, 2014

A decision by Japan’s MAFF will now allow for much greater volumes of Chilean cherries this Christmas.

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Del Monte opens new Canadian fresh cut facility

November 19th, 2014

Fresh Del Monte Produce has opened a new operation to supply fresh cut salads, fruits and vegetables to the Canadian market.

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Spanish citrus sector angered by EU labeling decision

November 18th, 2014

A decision to single out citrus growers in labeling the use of postharvest chemicals has been supported by the General Court of the European Union.

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U.S.: High times for strawberries and blueberries, says Riordan

November 18th, 2014

California Giant Berry Farms owner Patrick Riordan says he is “blessed” to be involved in the category.

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Brazilian blueberry market “spectacular”, says Chilean export nursery

November 18th, 2014

Business may not be growing as quickly as in Peru, but a Chilean blueberry nursery is expanding in Brazil.

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Peruvian mega-irrigation project seeks new farming investors

November 17th, 2014

The first crops have been planted as part of a US$280 million dam project in Peru to support agriculture, including sugarcane, avocados and blueberries.

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China: Fruitday gears up for Mexican blackberries, Chilean avocados

November 14th, 2014

After tripling sales in the last year, Fruitday co-founder Loren Zhao looks ahead for fruit imports in 2014-15.

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‘Price factor becoming far less important for shoppers’, says Tesco U.K.

November 14th, 2014

Tesco’s Simon Mandelbaum spoke at PMA Fruittrade about the changing needs of U.K. consumers.

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McDonald’s supplier gets USDA approval for GM potato

November 11th, 2014

A genetically modified potato that produces fewer cancerous chemicals could soon hit the U.S. market.

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South Africa: Dutoit branches out into early cherries for U.K. market

November 11th, 2014

Gysbert du Toit talks about the evolution of an early cherry deal from South Africa in a tie-up with Californian varieties.

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Reefer equipment scarcity becoming an issue, says Maersk

November 10th, 2014

Speaking prior to PMA Fruittrade Latin America, a Maersk representative says reefer demand is exceeding supply.

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Australia: Mainland cherry registrations for Chinese exports a “good step”

November 10th, 2014

Mainland Australian cherry growers had previously ignored the option to export directly to China with cold treatment, but that approach has changed this season.

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Lemon demand has risen 10-15%, says Limoneira exec

November 10th, 2014

At first it was just shortages driving up prices, but now Limoneira believes stonger lemon demand is here to stay.

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U.S.: West Coast port employer says union action has reached California

November 7th, 2014

The Pacific Maritime Association claims a union is now withholding skilled workers in the ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles.

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Californian court makes landmark order against UFW, ALRB

November 6th, 2014

Gerawan Farming has achieved a breakthrough in its struggle against the forced unionization of farmworkers.

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U.S.: Marketing Washington State’s “monster” apple crop

November 6th, 2014

We take an in-depth look at how some major Washington apple producers are marketing their huge crops this season, as well as other key issues like storage space and labor availability.

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Vietnam considers Australian fruit import suspension

November 4th, 2014

After dealing with years of headaches forming a new protocol to regain Thai market access, the Australian horticultural industry may face new non-tariff challenges in another South East Asian market.

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