Alliance a "plus for sales rates", says Camposol Agricom Fresh

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Alliance a "plus for sales rates", says Camposol Agricom Fresh

Three years of negotiations finally came to fruition in late January when Peru's Camposol and Chile's Agricom officially formed a trading and marketing partnership in Europe, based in the Netherlands. The new company will be able to synchronize supply for products the two countries have in common like avocados, grapes, citrus fruits, blueberries and pomegranates; the last two being fairly new from Camposol's perspective. In the medium term the company will likely move on to new products. During Fruit Logistica in Berlin, caught up with Camposol Agricom Fresh general manager Sergio Torres Takahashi, who expects the new offering will be a "valid alternative" of direct sourcing for retailers.

Weather conditions and an oversupply of avocados in North America led to a tough trading climate for Camposol in the third quarter of 2012, and since then the Lima-based business has announced a 30% rise in asparagus prices due to higher costs.

Sergio Torres Takahashi

Sergio Torres Takahashi

Torres says these cost pressures have come on many fronts, including a higher demand for machinery, water scarcity and lower availability of labor supply. As asparagus crops reach the end of their useful life and yields start to decline, the problem is compounded and growers must look for other options, potentially with fruits like avocados or grapes that can fetch attractive prices.

"You have an effect of rising costs and yields are falling, so there is a need to communicate a rise in price levels. Responsibility is important for us with a high level of investment to make everything in cultivation sustainable; for us to continue in the asparagus business it needs to be sustainable," he said.

"If not, there are other alternatives but as Camposol was born as an asparagus company, it is difficult to think that we wouldn't be in that business."

As Camposol increased its portfolio of other products, it was logical to find a way to better place them in the market, especially for fruits with relatively short timeframes like blueberries and pomegranates. For Torres, aligning these windows to connect with the succeeding Chilean seasons helps for a better service offering to clients.

"This without a doubt constitutes a very valid alternative for any client, above all because to be just one face for two companies, the working times, energy, and communication, are cut out a lot. Both brands have a lot of experience in each of their origins with avocados and so we can offer a very uniform supply to our clients; we consolidate a supply of practically 10 months from May to March.

"In Europe, we have an important development in markets like Germany, where we are very focused in working with chains, and we think we will have a higher protagonism in the coming years. The reaction from Germans has been positive; there are now supermarkets that are incorporating Hass avocados in a continuous way throughout the year, but there are some that still are yet to incorporate them.

"With blueberries, the idea is to start with Peru - a new origin in the market - in the window of October, November and December, with the transition to Chilean blueberries."

He adds Peru's blueberry presence rose this year as rainy conditions damaged the Uruguayan deal to an extent.

On grapes, Torres expects an increased supply that will boost sales in the third and fourth quarters of 2013, while the company's first pomegranate deal will have a maximum of around 10 containers.

"We are starting the pomegranate product - it's not new in Peru but for Camposol it is. This year will be our first harvest, and we expect to have a correct entry in the market from the end of February to the end of March, in terms of the price level and quality."

Overall, Torres is upbeat about Camposol Agricom Fresh's prospects this year.

"I think 2013 will be a very different year, as all years are. We expect that sales rates will rise as part of the consolidation of programs from this alliance, which we didn't have last year.

"It will be a plus for sales rates as we will have larger direct programs."


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