UAE: NRTC to strengthen direct links with South America

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UAE: NRTC to strengthen direct links with South America

One of Dubai's leading fruit traders Nassar Al-Refaee (NRTC) has historically worked mostly with importers to source Latin American produce, but the company now seeks to break down links in the chain to have more direct contact with the continent and its suppliers.


Shihad Aboobacker

Part of the impetus behind the move has been to improve shelf life, given the long journey of around 45 days from countries like Chile.

During industry event Macfrut in Rímini, Italy this month, NRTC buyer Shihad Aboobacker told the company had expanded significantly over the past 10 years with imports from Europe, Asia, South America and North America.

"We have been expanding our business and currently we are one of the most important suppliers to restaurants, hotels and local markets in Dubai," Aboobacker said.

"We need more fruit and we want to get it directly from growers or exporters."

Last year the company made its first forays in the area by working with Chilean company Verfrut, purchasing apples (Royal Gala and Red Delicious), table grapes and two containers of kiwifruit.

"It was a good experience - the company is serious and has good quality products."

Shihad said the company was also looking to work with groups in Peru, specifically suppliers of table grapes and asparagus.

"Currently we are buying asparagus from the Netherlands, but the origin is Peru so we want to avoid that route and buy directly."

Shihad said an important aspect of importing from South America was determining which varieties could hold up to the journey. For example, there haven't been any great problems with Red Globe or Crimson Seedless.

He added the group imported grapes from California which took 54 days, but the fruit still arrived in good condition.

At the event itself, Shihad said he had made some contacts for forging further business.

"While we are working with exporters from the U.S., Europe, Asia and South Africa, we still haven't managed to find many companies in South America, and for our business which is supplying restaurants, hotels and wholesale markets, we need to have a supply all year.

"That's why we're very interested in doing business with countries like Chile, Peru and Brazil," he said, adding the main products desired were apples, kiwifruit and grapes, as well as mangoes from Brazil.

NRTC has one of Dubai's four largest cold storage facilities, along with 100 trucks for distribution.



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