Spanish stonefruit set for Chinese splash in 2015
A Spanish stonefruit and grape exporter has high hopes his produce will be allowed into mainland China next year, following a visit from the country's authorities in August.
During Asia Fruit Logistica in Hong Kong, Murcia-based Gruventa general manager Fermín Sánchez told www.freshfruitportal.com a market entry agreement was expected to be signed by both countries in late 2014.
He said the varieties of peaches, nectarines, plums and table grapes grown in Murcia were early, hitting the shelves in April and exiting the market in September.
"Before July - that's what we understand as when the local Chinese stonefruit and grapes hit the market - there will be a huge sales window open for us," he said.
Even though it takes 22 days to ship the Spanish produce items to China, Sánchez did not believe such a long time period would impact the fruit, emphasizing the premium quality of Spanish fruit compared to the competition in the Chinese market, particularly from Chile.
The East Asian country's great market potential is not the only reason for the shift in focus however, with Sánchez citing the recent Russian ban on European produce imports as prompting powerful momentum to seek new export opportunities.
"On the one hand, we're trying to strengthen our presence in other traditional export markets like Brazil, which is big deal for us," Sánchez said.
"On the other hand though, we are quickly launching new operations with a focus in China, the Middle East and India.
"After all, you can't put all your eggs in one basket, right?"
The exporter says his main purpose for attending the Hong Kong event was to touch base with large Chinese importers and retail chains.
"As of now, we are not considering any e-commerce produce firms. We must deal with conventional importers first," he added.
"And if all goes well, our products will arrive in China by next year."
Several interested importers have been contacting Sánchez about prices and the size of demand for Gruventa's stonefruit and table grapes. He said he would be including these factors into his strategic planning for the new season.
In addition, he highlighted the fast-growing export volume of Spanish citrus into China, particularly for lemons.