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Mexico becoming first raspberry and blackberry exporter to China

Mexico becoming first raspberry and blackberry exporter to China

SVA Fruits is a joint venture between the Chilean fruit producer San Clemente and Hortifrut. “The company in Shanghai started about 7 years ago with San Clemente, which was one of the first Chilean companies to focus on China as a primary market, and was actually Chile’s largest exporter to Shanghai for many years,” affirms David Smith, Operations Manager at SVA Fruits.

Currently, San Clemente is the fourth largest apple producer in Chile, with around 2.7 million boxes; they also grow cherries, grapes, kiwis, clementines and some other products. “The other parent company, Hortifrut, is the world’s largest blueberry grower, with around 23% of Chile’s entire production, as well as farms in countries like Argentina, Peru, Mexico and Spain. It also owns 30% of Naturipe in the U.S., which means that Hortifrut is their primary representative in China,” explains David.

The big news is that a protocol has been signed between the Mexican and Chinese governments allowing the export of Mexican raspberries and blackberries to China, as no other country has access. David believes that “it is an exciting opportunity that nobody knows how big is going to be, but if we manage to get the right product into their hands, they are going to go crazy for it.”

Blackberries and raspberries have not been grown in China for long, and neither volumes nor quality are very high. According to David, “growing practices are not very developed, so they have a long way to go before catching up with the Western world, but because it’s a new product, consumers are really curious about it.”
David finds the situation comparable to that of blueberries, which only started to take off about 3 to 4 years ago. “I have seen some presentations about blueberry production in China which reveal that, in terms of acreage, they are now the world’s second largest grower, which shows there’s a lot of belief in that product.”

In China, 20% of SVA Fruits’ business goes directly to big name retailers, while the rest goes to wholesalers, which means it already has a wide network of customers. “Conversations about raspberries are still short, but now with the protocol, and only 1-2 months before shipments start, we are definitely ready to go,” concludes David.

Publication date: 11/28/2014
Author: Nichola Watson

Basciani starts new blackberry farm

Fred Recchiuti, general manager of Basciani Mushroom Farms in Avondale, PA, told The Produce News that the company has begun a new venture into producing blackberries.

“We haul berries for some other companies,” explained Recchiuti. “Over time we’ve learned about berry programs, including that there is an import gap on blackberries in July and August. We decided to start a small blackberry farm to help fill this gap.”

Blackberry-Farm-14 Basciani Mushroom Farms’ new Basciani Blackberry Farm in Avondale, PA.The new 20-acre blackberry farm is called Basciani Blackberry Farm and is also located in Avondale. Recchiuti said the plants produced a small amount of blackberries last year, and this year the crop is considerably larger, and the quality is great.

“We expect to have an even better crop with stronger volumes next year,” he noted. “It’s our inaugural venture into a produce item other than mushrooms, so it’s a fun and exciting new endeavor for our company. We purposely planned production on the blackberry farm with the intent of keeping it a short window only to fill this gap.”

Basciani Mushroom Farms will celebrate its 90th year in business in 2015. The company is multi-generational and it continues to be family owned and operated today.

It produces highly desired mushroom varieties, and the majority of its customers are in the foodservice and processing sectors of the industry.

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