April 01, 2015 / Week N° 14

Archive for the Interviews Category

Russia trashes gray market apples

March 30th, 2015

Recent photos show Russian authorities have dumped illegal fruit in landfill sites.

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U.S.: Driscoll’s stands behind Sakuma Farms

March 30th, 2015

Amid calls for a boycott, Driscoll’s says previous union claims against a berry supplier have been resolved and it has no place intervening in labor negotiations.

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Chile: SAN urges immediate assistance for stranded farmers

March 27th, 2015

Chile’s National Agricultural Society (SAN) says the severe flooding has left many stranded without water for days, as produce companies use private helicopters to rescue those in need.

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Spain: AVA-ASAJA proposes converting 10,000ha of citrus production

March 27th, 2015

An industry head in Valencia unveils plans to prevent the sector becoming “a shadow of its former self”.

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Storms damage northern Chilean grapevines, infrastructure

March 26th, 2015

The Copiapó Valley has been one of the worst hit agricultural zones from recent storms in northern Chile.

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U.S.: Boycott threatens Driscoll’s supplier

March 26th, 2015

“It’s so hard to bring in workers from abroad, and what happens when they do it legally? They get punished.” One industry insider says this is the true story behind a farm labor battle raging in Washington State.

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WHO-affiliated group deems glyphosate “probably carcinogenic”

March 25th, 2015

Monsanto is ‘outraged’ at a determination from the IARC that the world’s most used herbicide is probably carcinogenic to humans.

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Dominican Medfly outbreak far from commercial fruit production, says mango rep

March 25th, 2015

Mango and avocado exporters believe the U.S. trade restrictions on Dominican fruit should be over soon.

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Medfly found in northern Chile

March 24th, 2015

Chile’s Agriculture and Livestock Service (SAG) has declared a fruit fly outbreak in La Serena, capital of the Coquimbo region.

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Chiquita exec payouts could exceed US$23M

March 24th, 2015

A report to the SEC reveals the extent of Chiquita’s completed and planned severance packages for leading executives, as well as hundreds of layoffs in Latin America.

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Australia: Valleyfresh enters JV with Perth wholesaler

March 23rd, 2015

With the help of a Freshmax subsidiary, a previously unavailable type of pre-packing service will be up and running in one of the world’s most isolated cities.

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NZ kiwifruit growers “overwhelmingly” support industry changes

March 23rd, 2015

More than 90% of New Zealand’s kiwifruit growers have voted in favor of the KISP recommendations, with an industry head criticizing the “small vocal minority” who oppose the single desk structure.

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Russian authorities intercept another Polish apple shipment

March 23rd, 2015

Some 58MT of Polish apples have been blocked from entering Russia via Kazakhstan.

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Budding overseas empire for Australia’s Queen Garnet super plum

March 23rd, 2015

The palpable buzz around an anthocyanin-rich Queensland-bred plum is spreading internationally, with a French nursery upbeat for commercial harvests and U.S. growers playing their cards close to their chests.

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Russia may capitalize on U.S. ban of Dominican fruit

March 23rd, 2015

The U.S. ban on Dominican Republic fruit has the potential to play in favor of a Russian market in need of more supply.

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Italian organic kiwifruit brand ‘conquers’ Australia

March 19th, 2015

A northern Italian kiwifruit grower is making the most of Australia’s high fruit demand, and is planning other international ventures.

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Germany: €20M of cocaine found in banana shipment

March 19th, 2015

Some 300kg of cocaine were reportedly found in a South American banana shipment in Germany.

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NZ: Zespri hosting another buyer visit this week

March 18th, 2015

After a visit in February sparked controversy, New Zealand kiwifruit marketer Zespri is currently hosting another group of foreign buyers.

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Some NZ growers disappointed by “extravagant” Zespri buyer visit

March 18th, 2015

New Zealand’s kiwifruit industry has seen dissent in the ranks after around NZ$500,000 was spent on a recent buyer visit, but Zespri claims it was necessary to boost sales of a rising gold variety crop.

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Nadorcott case against Tango just a delay tactic, says Eurosemillas

March 16th, 2015

Spanish growers have been undeterred by calls not to plant the seedless Tango mandarin variety, with demand outstripping supply.

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Costa Rica recognizes first carbon neutral banana farm

March 16th, 2015

A Costa Rican banana farm hopes its eco-friendly practices will serve as an example to the industry.

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Industry veteran to head up Capespan South Africa

March 13th, 2015

A former head of the Fresh Produce Exporters’ Forum (FPEF) will join Capespan South Africa as managing director in May.

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Mexico: Hail damages avocado production in key Michoacan region

March 13th, 2015

Growers say much of the damage to avocado production caused by adverse weather this week in the Michoacan region of Uruapan is irreversible.

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Calavo to expand Mexican avocado packing operations

March 12th, 2015

Calavo Growers is already banking on the expected opening of the U.S. market for avocados grown in Jalisco.

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Global banana industry must ‘rethink whole business model’, says expert

March 12th, 2015

Dan Koeppel says the suspected case of Panama disease TR4 in Queensland should not come as a surprise given the lack of a ‘global strategy’.

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U.S.: Newark vertical farm to take ‘precision and performance to another level’

March 12th, 2015

AeroFarms says it is investing heavily in software for its vertical farms to ‘scale-up and go worldwide’.

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IG International eyes North American greenhouse acquisition

March 11th, 2015

IG International is expanding its global reach with a long-term goal of bringing technical expertise and better varieties to India.

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U.S.: Pink Lady to add several varieties to brand

March 10th, 2015

Pink Lady-branded apples will be available earlier in the season following the inclusion of new varieties.

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Chinese customs links smuggling case to South American fruit

March 10th, 2015

Chinese authorities have been tight-lipped amidst an investigation into fruit smuggling in Dalian, but one official has revealed a few more details about the case.

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U.S.: “World’s largest indoor vertical farm” planned for New Jersey

March 9th, 2015

AeroFarms plans to make urban farming history with a new project on a former industrial site in Newark, New Jersey.

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U.S.: Expenses squeeze Limoneira results in Q1

March 9th, 2015

Higher costs offset the benefits of favorable market conditions and larger lemon volumes for Limoneira in the first quarter.

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Colombian app aims to strengthen fruit trade relationships

March 5th, 2015

A new Colombian app aims to simplify how produce sellers and buyers interact across time zones and continents.

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NZ: Fire destroys shed at Seeka packhouse

March 4th, 2015

No people were injured in a “significant fire” that hit a New Zealand post-harvest facility for kiwifruit and kiwiberries.

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Australia: Panama Disease Tropical Race IV suspected in Queensland

March 4th, 2015

The Australian banana industry is on high alert after a suspected case of Panama Disease Tropical Race IV (TR4) was detected on a plantation in the North Queensland region of Tully.

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Peru: Camposol upbeat for Ica’s ag future with Cilloniz at the helm

March 4th, 2015

While Camposol’s production is focused in Chavimochic, the group holds land in the key horticultural department of Ica where an industry consultant is now president.

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Chilean govt declares agricultural emergency after Villarica Volcano eruption

March 3rd, 2015

Blueberry growers around Pucon would have been much more affected by the recent volcanic eruption if their season wasn’t all but over.

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European oversupply dints Total Produce results

March 3rd, 2015

Total Produce recorded a lower result for 2014 but acquisitions helped raise profits in non-Eurozone European operations.

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Sun World to release ‘explosive’ grape varieties in Chile

March 3rd, 2015

A leading table grape breeder says public varieties are on the way out and growers need to ‘get with the program’ to avoid poor market prices.

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China: Red kiwifruit production region hopes for foothold in EU market

March 2nd, 2015

Part of a Chinese county has received the Protected Eco-Origin Product certification for red kiwifruit varieties.

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Russia’s greenhouse revolution

February 27th, 2015

With warmer weather than the rest of the country, could Belgorod become the “Netherlands of Russia” with the help of greenhouse entrepreneurship?

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U.S.: Overarching brand has “monumental” implications for produce industry

February 26th, 2015

Tongue-in-cheek with celebrity backing, a new “superhero meets sports” brand for fruits and vegetables called FNV is poised to change the way the U.S. public interacts with produce.

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South Africa: Dry weather may hit citrus sizing but quality “excellent”, says CGA

February 26th, 2015

South Africa’s total citrus volumes this season should be roughly in line with previous years.

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EU School Fruit Scheme under threat

February 25th, 2015

Freshfel has urged the European Commission not to put ‘better regulation’ ahead of children’s health.

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China: Zespri distances itself from Dalian Yidu

February 24th, 2015

As a former employee continues to make damning claims against Zespri over its handling of a past fraud case, the company is cutting the cord with an importer implicated in a new one.

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U.S.: GM labeling would be ‘as good as a ban’, says critic

February 24th, 2015

While one critic of GMO labeling says legislation would be a “Pandora’s box” and hinder scientific development, the Center for Food Safety points to the success of transparency in GM-heavy Brazil.

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Australia to screen Chinese frozen berries

February 23rd, 2015

The Australian Government has announced new measures to act on the recent Hepatitis A outbreak that has been linked to imported Chinese frozen berries.

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German apple grower eyes Chinese, South Korean market openings

February 23rd, 2015

BayWa CEO Klaus Lutz says it is “ridiculous” that the EU does not have harmonized market access processes for fruit exporters in destination markets.

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NZ: Late harvest ‘not much of a disadvantage this year’, says Mr Apple

February 23rd, 2015

A major New Zealand apple exporter says a colder February has led to ‘exceptional’ fruit color.

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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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