Argentina: independent fruit group makes strides in Concordia
An independent group of blueberry and citrus growers and exporters in the Argentine state of Concordia is pushing for better maritime and aerial transport conditions.
The group 'Los Ceibos', named after tha natural flower of Argentina and Uruguay, brings together companies with operations in Concordia including Gramm, Citrícola Ayuí and Arandeira, as well as Uruguay-based Midgold and Chile-based Integrity.
Integrity president Gabriel Fonzo told www.freshfruitportal.com the formation was 'something natural', coming together due to similarities between the companies.
"We have our own fruit, similar varieties, similar opportunites and our own packing, cold storage and bromine. We manage all these variables," he said.
Fonzo said the alliance was now stronger in its third year, having exported 2,000 metric tons (MT) of fruit last season. He expected a slight increase this year, with the U.S. and Europe as the main market destinations.
"In the first year we filled 10 freighters and last year we completed 12 - as we have control of the fruit and we have the equipment, the refrigeration, we can keep the fruit until we are told the plane is OK. It's the same in sea[freight] and that gives confidence to companies.
"We have never not met the volumes that we needed - we have obligations between all of us, certain quotas to meet and if someone can't, we see who can cover it.
"The voices and opinions of this group are different to those of the blueberry organizations. Our interest as a group is having our own voice and a communion of logistics."
He said some blueberry organizations were interested in passing information to foreigners, but Concordia's growers didn't need that.
"We don't need promotion. On the contrary, you promote something when you need to introduce a product to the market and our zone doesn't need promotion, because we sell what we produce," said Fonzo.
He said this was a case because Argentine blueberries from Tucumán and Concordia were the first to go from the Southern Hemisphere.
"The whole world knows that in September they can count on blueberries coming from Argentina, that we are a scoop and that they (blueberries) are scarce."