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Organic supply might not keep up with demand

Because of difficulty in finding suitable land, one of the biggest obstacles for suppliers of organic produce is meeting demand.

That theme was top of mind during a breakout session featuring suppliers at the recent Organic Produce Summit, held in Monterey, CA. Titled “Organic Produce Innovation: Next Generation, Next Geography,” a trio of speakers and moderator Nate Lewis of the Organic Trade Association explored the topic. The OTA executive began the discussion asking the group what the biggest challenge is with organic produce.

“Available ground is the biggest challenge,” said Jerrett Stoffel, vice president of operations for Taylor Farms in Salinas, CA. He noted that most of the conventional ground that is relatively easy to transition to organic production has already been converted. Taylor Farms continues to look for new ground but it is difficult to find, and much more expensive to convert.

Greg Holzman, founder of Purity Organics, said he travels extensively and continually tries to convince growers all over the world to switch to organic production. As such the company sources extensively from Central America and South America for its eponymous juices. Purity Organics only has an organic option that it offers to its customers, so it really can’t help growers market their transitional product.

Soren Bjorn, executive vice president of Driscoll Strawberry Associates Inc. in Watsonville, CA, said that is not the case with his firm. Because of some very conservative residue standards by some export buyers, he said transitional fruit is a good match for Driscoll’s export sales, which does help the company “sell” the concept of organic production to its growers. However, Driscoll’s relies on growers all over the world for its output and each of those growers must make their own business decision about growing organic berries. The company does have an aggressive program, especially in Mexico, to help new growers get started, which may help alleviate some supply issues in the future.

Lewis of OTA noted that the trade association is working with the federal government on standards that will allow for the marketing of transitional fruit as growers move their production from conventional to organic. While this may convince some growers to transition from conventional to organic, he said this idea has detractors as some practitioners do not want to cannibalize organic sales nor create an “organic light” category.

Bjorn believes genetics, technology and geography will play important roles in increasing the supply of organic berries. He said genetic research resulting in new varieties could allow production on marginal land, and should help increase yields as well. He also said that advancements in the use of bio-pesticides will help organic berries deal with pest pressures. Advancements in technology, Bjorn said, could help growers move the crop out of the soil and into potted production, which may allow a version of factory farming and greatly increase the supply of available land. The company is also continually exploring new regions of the world where strawberry production, including organic production, may take root.

Stoffel said that organic spinach is having a very difficult time because of disease problems for which there is no solution for organic production. At this point in time, he said “organic spinach is probably not a sustainable crop.”

The suppliers also talked about climate change and discussed its impact on both conventional and organic production. Lewis said warming temperatures have allowed the state of Washington to have a crop landscape that rivals California. While a warming trend in more northern locations may open up land for fruit and vegetable production of all kinds, other areas are getting too warm to grow some traditional crops. Even in Oxnard, CA, Bjorn said there are fields that no longer get much ocean cooling and so they are no longer suitable for strawberry production.

Stoffel said moving to areas that are now warmer may offer some opportunities, but generally those crop windows are shorter and require a lot more planning.

The three panelists took a much different view of the direction each of their individual companies will be taking in the near and distant future. Bjorn said Driscoll’s is concentrating on its four berry crops — strawberries, blueberries, raspberries and blackberries — with no plans to diversify. Holzman said Purity Organics is always looking to add to its stable of operations and added that the firm’s papaya production is on the rise. Stoffel indicated that Taylor Farms will basically grow anything it can sell. “We are driven by consumer tastes,” he said.

The Produce News | Today’s Headlines – The Produce News – Covering fresh produce around the globe since 1897.

World’s food supply got a little more plentiful: Resistance gene found against ug99 wheat stem rust pathogen

June 27, 2013 — The world’s food supply got a little more plentiful thanks to a scientific breakthrough.

Eduard Akhunov, associate professor of plant pathology at Kansas State University, and his colleague, Jorge Dubcovsky from the University of California-Davis, led a research project that identified a gene that gives wheat plants resistance to one of the most deadly races of the wheat stem rust pathogen — called Ug99 — that was first discovered in Uganda in 1999. The discovery may help scientists develop new wheat varieties and strategies that protect the world’s food crops against the wheat stem rust pathogen that is spreading from Africa to the breadbaskets of Asia and can cause significant crop losses.

Other Kansas State University researchers include Harold Trick, professor of plant pathology; Andres Salcedo, doctoral candidate in genetics from Mexico; and Cyrille Saintenac, a postdoctoral research associate currently working at the Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique in France. The project was funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and Borlaug Global Rust Initiative.

The team’s study, “Identification of Wheat Gene Sr35 that Confers Resistance to Ug99 Stem Rust Race Group,” appears in the journal Science.

It identifies the stem rust resistance gene named Sr35, and appears alongside a study from an Australian group that identifies another effective resistance gene called Sr33.

“This gene, Sr35, functions as a key component of plants’ immune system,” Akhunov said. “It recognizes the invading pathogen and triggers a response in the plant to fight the disease.”

Wheat stem rust is caused by a fungal pathogen. According to Akhunov, since the 1950s wheat breeders have been able to develop wheat varieties that are largely resistant to this pathogen. However, the emergence of strain Ug99 in Uganda in 1999 devastated crops and has spread to Kenya, Ethiopia, Sudan and Yemen, though has yet to reach the U.S.

“Until that point, wheat breeders had two or three genes that were so efficient against stem rust for decades that this disease wasn’t the biggest concern,” Akhunov said. “However, the discovery of the Ug99 race of pathogen showed that changes in the virulence of existing pathogen races can become a huge problem.”

As a first line of defense, wheat breeders and researchers began looking for resistance genes among those that had already been discovered in the existing germplasm repositories, he said.

“The Sr35 gene was one of those genes that was discovered in einkorn wheat grown in Turkey,” Akhunov said. “Until now, however, we did not know what kind of gene confers resistance to Ug99 in this wheat accession.”

To identify the resistance gene Sr35, the team turned to einkorn wheat that is known to be resistant to the Ug99 fungal strain. Einkorn wheat has limited economic value and is cultivated in small areas of the Mediterranean region. It has been replaced by higher yielding pasta and bread wheat varieties.

Researchers spent nearly four years trying to identify the location of the Sr35 gene in the wheat genome, which contains nearly two times more genetic information than the human genome.

Once the researchers narrowed the list of candidate genes, they used two complimentary approaches to find the Sr35 gene. First, they chemically mutagenized the resistant accession of wheat to identify plants that become susceptible to the stem rust pathogen.

“It was a matter of knocking out each candidate gene until we found the one that made a plant susceptible,” Akhunov said. “It was a tedious process and took a lot of time, but it was worth the effort.”

Next, researchers isolated the candidate gene and used biotechnical approaches to develop transgenic plants that carried the Sr35 gene and showed resistance to the Ug99 race of stem rust.

Now that the resistance gene has been found, Akhunov and colleagues are looking at what proteins are transferred by the fungus into the wheat plants and recognized by the protein encoded by the Sr35 gene. This will help researchers to better understand the molecular mechanisms behind infection and develop new approaches for controlling this devastating pathogen.

ScienceDaily: Agriculture and Food News

Watermelon supply outlook: Thin supplies

NOGALES, AZ — A year ago in December there were plenty of watermelons to ship from northern Mexico. But the fall 2014 crop has run short because two August hurricanes struck Mexico’s west coast.

“There will be a gap from now until the deal begins in Jalisco. This is projected for January,” said Chuy Lopez, president of Big Chuy Distributors & Sons Inc.

“I wish we had them now,” he added in a Dec. 9 interview. There was very little watermelon volume available from Hermosillo and Guaymas in December.Big-Chuy-treeMike Gerardo, Alex Lopez and Chuy Lopez stand on a landing in the Nogales, AZ, office of Big Chuy Distributors & Sons Inc.

Lopez expected that the states of Jalisco and Colima will have reduced watermelon production this winter. The watermelon business has not been very good for the last couple of years, he explained.

“In the spring — in mid-March — we will start with decent volume, running through April and May,” he said. By March 1, watermelon production will have moved back to northern Mexico.

Late this year, Big Chuy is marketing Mexican hard squash and yellow and white sweet corn. “We will be busy with those for the next couple of months,” he said. “The markets are holding right now.”

The Produce News | Today’s Headlines – The Produce News – Covering fresh produce around the globe since 1897.

On heels of AWI purchase, C&S acquires Grocers Supply

C&S Wholesale Grocers Inc. has agreed to acquire the wholesale distribution and supply business of the Grocers Supply Co. Inc. This news comes less than a week after its bid to purchase Associated Wholesalers Inc. was approved.

The new acquisition will include Grocers Supply’s warehouse and distribution operations in the Houston, Dallas and Rio Grande Valley areas along with its approximately 1,800 employees, but will not include any of Grocers Supply’s retail operations. The transaction is expected to close before the end of the year.

“The Grocers Supply Company has a century-long legacy of providing the highest level of service to its valued customers, which are primarily independent retailers and regional chains,” Rick Cohen, C&S Chairman and chief executive officer, said in a press release. “We very much look forward to partnering with the Grocers Supply team to continue this tradition and to expand the services and offerings available to its customers through the strength and scale of C&S. C&S is excited to enter the Southwestern United States market and to have the opportunity to service this growing and vital region.”

Grocers Supply distributes all major product lines, including produce, and is also known as one of the leading distributors of Hispanic grocery products in the country, focusing on Texas-made and Texas-grown products.

Grocers Supply’s largest customer is the Fiesta Mart chain of stores, which includes 60 retail locations and is one of the larger grocers in the country serving the Hispanic market.

“C&S is strongly committed to maintaining the service and product assortment that Grocers Supply’s loyal customers have come to expect,” Cohen said in the release. “This is an exciting opportunity for both companies, as well our customers and employees, as we combine the best aspects of Grocers Supply and C&S to produce a truly differentiated offering to the independent grocer.”

“As the Levit family planned for the next 100 years, with the goal of sustaining the Grocers Supply wholesale business, we determined that selling the wholesale business would be in the best interest of its stakeholders,” Max Levit, president of Grocers Supply, said in the release. “We carefully selected C&S Wholesale Grocers as the best choice for our employees and customers because of C&S’s commitment to growth, operational excellence and service to independent grocers. We appreciate our loyal employees’ numerous accomplishments and look forward to seeing their future successes.”

The Produce News | Today’s Headlines – The Produce News – Covering fresh produce around the globe since 1897.

On heels of AWI purchase, C&S acquires Grocers Supply

C&S Wholesale Grocers Inc. has agreed to acquire the wholesale distribution and supply business of the Grocers Supply Co. Inc. This news comes less than a week after its bid to purchase Associated Wholesalers Inc. was approved.

The new acquisition will include Grocers Supply’s warehouse and distribution operations in the Houston, Dallas and Rio Grande Valley areas along with its approximately 1,800 employees, but will not include any of Grocers Supply’s retail operations. The transaction is expected to close before the end of the year.

“The Grocers Supply Company has a century-long legacy of providing the highest level of service to its valued customers, which are primarily independent retailers and regional chains,” Rick Cohen, C&S Chairman and chief executive officer, said in a press release. “We very much look forward to partnering with the Grocers Supply team to continue this tradition and to expand the services and offerings available to its customers through the strength and scale of C&S. C&S is excited to enter the Southwestern United States market and to have the opportunity to service this growing and vital region.”

Grocers Supply distributes all major product lines, including produce, and is also known as one of the leading distributors of Hispanic grocery products in the country, focusing on Texas-made and Texas-grown products.

Grocers Supply’s largest customer is the Fiesta Mart chain of stores, which includes 60 retail locations and is one of the larger grocers in the country serving the Hispanic market.

“C&S is strongly committed to maintaining the service and product assortment that Grocers Supply’s loyal customers have come to expect,” Cohen said in the release. “This is an exciting opportunity for both companies, as well our customers and employees, as we combine the best aspects of Grocers Supply and C&S to produce a truly differentiated offering to the independent grocer.”

“As the Levit family planned for the next 100 years, with the goal of sustaining the Grocers Supply wholesale business, we determined that selling the wholesale business would be in the best interest of its stakeholders,” Max Levit, president of Grocers Supply, said in the release. “We carefully selected C&S Wholesale Grocers as the best choice for our employees and customers because of C&S’s commitment to growth, operational excellence and service to independent grocers. We appreciate our loyal employees’ numerous accomplishments and look forward to seeing their future successes.”

The Produce News | Today’s Headlines – The Produce News – Covering fresh produce around the globe since 1897.

On heels of AWI purchase, C&S acquires Grocers Supply

C&S Wholesale Grocers Inc. has agreed to acquire the wholesale distribution and supply business of the Grocers Supply Co. Inc. This news comes less than a week after its bid to purchase Associated Wholesalers Inc. was approved.

The new acquisition will include Grocers Supply’s warehouse and distribution operations in the Houston, Dallas and Rio Grande Valley areas along with its approximately 1,800 employees, but will not include any of Grocers Supply’s retail operations. The transaction is expected to close before the end of the year.

“The Grocers Supply Company has a century-long legacy of providing the highest level of service to its valued customers, which are primarily independent retailers and regional chains,” Rick Cohen, C&S Chairman and chief executive officer, said in a press release. “We very much look forward to partnering with the Grocers Supply team to continue this tradition and to expand the services and offerings available to its customers through the strength and scale of C&S. C&S is excited to enter the Southwestern United States market and to have the opportunity to service this growing and vital region.”

Grocers Supply distributes all major product lines, including produce, and is also known as one of the leading distributors of Hispanic grocery products in the country, focusing on Texas-made and Texas-grown products.

Grocers Supply’s largest customer is the Fiesta Mart chain of stores, which includes 60 retail locations and is one of the larger grocers in the country serving the Hispanic market.

“C&S is strongly committed to maintaining the service and product assortment that Grocers Supply’s loyal customers have come to expect,” Cohen said in the release. “This is an exciting opportunity for both companies, as well our customers and employees, as we combine the best aspects of Grocers Supply and C&S to produce a truly differentiated offering to the independent grocer.”

“As the Levit family planned for the next 100 years, with the goal of sustaining the Grocers Supply wholesale business, we determined that selling the wholesale business would be in the best interest of its stakeholders,” Max Levit, president of Grocers Supply, said in the release. “We carefully selected C&S Wholesale Grocers as the best choice for our employees and customers because of C&S’s commitment to growth, operational excellence and service to independent grocers. We appreciate our loyal employees’ numerous accomplishments and look forward to seeing their future successes.”

The Produce News | Today’s Headlines – The Produce News – Covering fresh produce around the globe since 1897.

C&S to acquire Grocers Supply

C&S Wholesale Grocers said Monday that it would buy the warehouse and distribution operations of Houston-based food distributor Grocers Supply Co. for an undisclosed price.

C&S said the acquisition will include Grocers Supply’s warehouse and distribution operations in the Houston, Dallas and Rio Grande Valley, Texas, areas along with its approximately 1,800 employees, but will not include any of Grocers Supply’s retail operations. The transaction is expected to close before year-end and is subject to customary closing conditions, including regulatory approvals.

Family-owned Grocers Supply distributes grocery, dairy, frozen, meat and produce to small chains and independents around Texas, and is one of the country’s largest distributors of Hispanic grocery products. Its largest customer is the 60-store Hispanic focused chain Fiesta Mart, which Grocers Supply will continue to own in partnership with Fiesta employees.

Grocers Supply did an estimated $ 2.9 billion in sales in 2013, making it the eighth largest food wholesaler in the U.S. and Canada, according to SN’s Top 75. C&S, with an estimated $ 21 billion in sales last year, is the largest. C&S last week won bankruptcy court approval to acquire Associated Wholesalers Inc., the ninth-largest U.S. wholesaler. It also last month reached an agreement to acquire the South Carolina-based parent of Piggly Wiggly Carolina and sell its remaining stores to independent operators.

“As the Levit Family planned for the next one hundred years, with the goal of sustaining the Grocers Supply wholesale business, we determined that selling the wholesale business would be in the best interest of its stakeholders. We carefully selected C&S Wholesale Grocers as the best choice for our employees and customers because of C&S’s commitment to growth, operational excellence, and service to independent grocers,” Max Levit, president of Grocers Supply, said in a statement. “We appreciate our loyal employees’ numerous accomplishments and look forward to seeing their future successes.”


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The Grocers Supply operations would be the first facilities in Texas for Keene, N,H.-based C&S.

“The Grocers Supply Co. has a century-long legacy of providing the highest level of service to its valued customers, which are primarily independent retailers and regional chains,” Rick Cohen, chairman and CEO of C&S. “We very much look forward to partnering with the Grocers Supply team to continue this tradition and to expand the services and offerings available to its customers through the strength and scale of C&S. C&S is excited to enter the Southwestern United States market and to have the opportunity to service this growing and vital region.”

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“Supply of Canarian tomatoes two weeks later”

Gert-Jan Slobbe, Fortuna Frutos:
“Supply of Canarian tomatoes two weeks later”

Across the board, supply of Canarian tomatoes is two weeks later than usual. According to Gert-Jan Slobbe of Fortuna Frutos, this is related to the financial problems there. “Producers were owed subsidies by the Spanish government. Right before the season, part of this was received, but part of it still hasn’t been disbursed. This has resulted in planting being delayed.”


This Monday, Fortuna Frutos Continental in Barendrecht will receive the first shipments of both cars and containers, but according to Gert-Jan, these aren’t large volumes yet. “Next week on Wednesday, the first ship will leave port. It has a capacity of 3,000 pallets for both the United Kingdom and the Netherlands, but the ship will not even be filled by a quarter.”


Positive effect
The late start of the season could actually have a positive effect, he thinks. “Normally, the larger volumes are already coming in early November, now it will not be until the third and fourth week. The past three years, we had a very bad start in November due to a mild autumn in Europe and an early start of Moroccan, Spanish and Canarian cultivation. This resulted in a lot of supply and low prices. I do expect the start will be better now.”


The waiting, according to Gert-Jan, is for the role Russia will play in all of this. “From Fortuna Frutos, a small volume went to Russia. Because of the boycott, I expect less competition from Morocco, but perhaps a larger Spanish supply. We’ll have to wait and see how these factors will balance each other out. For round tomatoes, the season is expected to end a bit sooner, and volumes will also be lower.”


The weather conditions on the Canary Islands have been great so far. “All in all, the tomato and cucumber acreage of both Tenerife and Gran Canaria is the same as last year. For tomatoes, the Fortuna group has a small expansion of 8 hectares, thanks to a new cooperative joining us. The cucumber acreage remained the same. Supply of these will start a bit earlier. In total, Fortuna Frutos has a production acreage of 300 hectares on the Canary Islands.”


Reduction
The reduction of the number of importers of Canarian tomatoes in both the Netherlands and the United Kingdom is a good thing, Gert-Jan thinks. “Fifteen years ago I already said that the fragmentation isn’t to the advantage of the Canarian producers. This joining of forces and further professionalizing is a logical consequence. In the Netherlands, the number has already been reduced to three, and there are a lot fewer in the United Kingdom as well.”


Both Fortuna Frutos Continental and International – importing the entire range of vegetables, headed by Stephane Rion – are shipping the complete range at Opticool Logistics in Rotterdam, starting October 1.


For more information:
Gert-Jan Slobbe
Fortuna Frutos Continental
Oslo 17
2993 LD Barendrecht
Tel: +31(0)180-751400
Fax: +31(0)180-751444
www.fortuna-frutos.com

Publication date: 10/30/2014


FreshPlaza.com

Insufficient apple supply in Russia

Insufficient apple supply in Russia

Russia stopped a shipment of Vietnamese cashews having entered Russia through Estonia. The country of origin wasn’t a matter for discussion this time, but a label was missing on the pallets. After thorough inspection of the pallets, the shipment of nuts was finally allowed into Russia. Russian producer organizations expect apple prices to increase significantly. Domestic cultivation is a lot less than consumption, and storage facilities are insufficient. Prime Minister Medvedev announced more energy will be put into Russian breeding and seed companies. This way, Russia is looking to become self-sufficient for seeds and seedlings as well.

Cashews stopped because of missing pallet label
The Russian phytosanitary inspection has stopped a shipment of cashews. That happened in Tver and Pskov at the border with Estonia. The nuts from Vietnam were imported into Russia through Estonia. This time it wasn’t the country of origin that caused the halting of the shipment, but a missing label on the pallets. For import, a label is required on the pallets to indicate that the pallet has been disinfected and does not carry any wood diseases. After a thorough inspection, the nuts were allowed into Russia after all.

Apple prices will go up
The Association of Russian Gardeners thinks prices for apples will go up. Their estimation amounts to 60 roubles (1.20 Euro) per kilo. According to the association’s chairman, the supply of apples is insufficient for meeting demand during the entire season. Starting early 2015, a shortage of apples is expected. Storage facilities are also insufficient, slowing down production. According to the organization, total apple consumption is 2 million tonnes per year, while domestic production amounts to 500-600,000 MT. Usually, domestic cultivation was on the market until December, after which the apples were imported; mainly from Poland and Moldova.

Medvedev wants own breeding
Russian Prime Minister Medvedev wants Russia to become less dependent on import of seeds and seedlings. This is one of the agenda items during a meeting on agricultural achievements this season. “Extra attention is needed to decrease our dependence on the import of seeds,” Medvedev said. The Prime Minister also announced extra grants would be made available for Russian breeding companies.

Agricultural growth slowing down
Specialists at the Russian Ministry of Agriculture expect production growth in the sector to slow down this year. The ministry announced this during the opening of the ‘Zolataya Osen’, an exhibition for the agricultural sector. According to expectations, the growth will amount to between 2-3% for 2014. Last year, production increased by 5.8%.

Udmurtia increases acreage
The republic of Udmurtia, in central Russia, is investing in the horticulture sector. The region wants to grow berries and other fruit at a commercial scale, at existing farms. One farmer already had 5 hectares allocated for an apple orchard. Over the coming years, the acreage and the number of cultivated varieties will have to increase. The regional government also hopes to sign contracts, so that the farmers are guaranteed to be able to sell.

Export Bulgaria decreases
In August, Bulgaria’s export decreased by about 33%. This can partially be explained by the closed Russian border, but the export to other countries decreased by the same percentage. All in all, the Eastern European country exported 4.7 million lev (2.4 million Euro) in August, while a year earlier that was still 5.9 million lev (3 million Euro). The most important cause of the decreasing export is the rainy summer, causing lacklustre volumes.
Statistics over the first eight months of this year show that export has been decreasing for a while. The Bulgarian export decreased by 3.4% compared to last year.

Publication date: 10/17/2014
Author: Rudolf Mulderij
Copyright: www.freshplaza.com


FreshPlaza.com

Insufficient apple supply in Russia

Insufficient apple supply in Russia

Russia stopped a shipment of Vietnamese cashews having entered Russia through Estonia. The country of origin wasn’t a matter for discussion this time, but a label was missing on the pallets. After thorough inspection of the pallets, the shipment of nuts was finally allowed into Russia. Russian producer organizations expect apple prices to increase significantly. Domestic cultivation is a lot less than consumption, and storage facilities are insufficient. Prime Minister Medvedev announced more energy will be put into Russian breeding and seed companies. This way, Russia is looking to become self-sufficient for seeds and seedlings as well.

Cashews stopped because of missing pallet label
The Russian phytosanitary inspection has stopped a shipment of cashews. That happened in Tver and Pskov at the border with Estonia. The nuts from Vietnam were imported into Russia through Estonia. This time it wasn’t the country of origin that caused the halting of the shipment, but a missing label on the pallets. For import, a label is required on the pallets to indicate that the pallet has been disinfected and does not carry any wood diseases. After a thorough inspection, the nuts were allowed into Russia after all.

Apple prices will go up
The Association of Russian Gardeners thinks prices for apples will go up. Their estimation amounts to 60 roubles (1.20 Euro) per kilo. According to the association’s chairman, the supply of apples is insufficient for meeting demand during the entire season. Starting early 2015, a shortage of apples is expected. Storage facilities are also insufficient, slowing down production. According to the organization, total apple consumption is 2 million tonnes per year, while domestic production amounts to 500-600,000 MT. Usually, domestic cultivation was on the market until December, after which the apples were imported; mainly from Poland and Moldova.

Medvedev wants own breeding
Russian Prime Minister Medvedev wants Russia to become less dependent on import of seeds and seedlings. This is one of the agenda items during a meeting on agricultural achievements this season. “Extra attention is needed to decrease our dependence on the import of seeds,” Medvedev said. The Prime Minister also announced extra grants would be made available for Russian breeding companies.

Agricultural growth slowing down
Specialists at the Russian Ministry of Agriculture expect production growth in the sector to slow down this year. The ministry announced this during the opening of the ‘Zolataya Osen’, an exhibition for the agricultural sector. According to expectations, the growth will amount to between 2-3% for 2014. Last year, production increased by 5.8%.

Udmurtia increases acreage
The republic of Udmurtia, in central Russia, is investing in the horticulture sector. The region wants to grow berries and other fruit at a commercial scale, at existing farms. One farmer already had 5 hectares allocated for an apple orchard. Over the coming years, the acreage and the number of cultivated varieties will have to increase. The regional government also hopes to sign contracts, so that the farmers are guaranteed to be able to sell.

Export Bulgaria decreases
In August, Bulgaria’s export decreased by about 33%. This can partially be explained by the closed Russian border, but the export to other countries decreased by the same percentage. All in all, the Eastern European country exported 4.7 million lev (2.4 million Euro) in August, while a year earlier that was still 5.9 million lev (3 million Euro). The most important cause of the decreasing export is the rainy summer, causing lacklustre volumes.
Statistics over the first eight months of this year show that export has been decreasing for a while. The Bulgarian export decreased by 3.4% compared to last year.

Publication date: 10/17/2014
Author: Rudolf Mulderij
Copyright: www.freshplaza.com


FreshPlaza.com

Insufficient apple supply in Russia

Insufficient apple supply in Russia

Russia stopped a shipment of Vietnamese cashews having entered Russia through Estonia. The country of origin wasn’t a matter for discussion this time, but a label was missing on the pallets. After thorough inspection of the pallets, the shipment of nuts was finally allowed into Russia. Russian producer organizations expect apple prices to increase significantly. Domestic cultivation is a lot less than consumption, and storage facilities are insufficient. Prime Minister Medvedev announced more energy will be put into Russian breeding and seed companies. This way, Russia is looking to become self-sufficient for seeds and seedlings as well.

Cashews stopped because of missing pallet label
The Russian phytosanitary inspection has stopped a shipment of cashews. That happened in Tver and Pskov at the border with Estonia. The nuts from Vietnam were imported into Russia through Estonia. This time it wasn’t the country of origin that caused the halting of the shipment, but a missing label on the pallets. For import, a label is required on the pallets to indicate that the pallet has been disinfected and does not carry any wood diseases. After a thorough inspection, the nuts were allowed into Russia after all.

Apple prices will go up
The Association of Russian Gardeners thinks prices for apples will go up. Their estimation amounts to 60 roubles (1.20 Euro) per kilo. According to the association’s chairman, the supply of apples is insufficient for meeting demand during the entire season. Starting early 2015, a shortage of apples is expected. Storage facilities are also insufficient, slowing down production. According to the organization, total apple consumption is 2 million tonnes per year, while domestic production amounts to 500-600,000 MT. Usually, domestic cultivation was on the market until December, after which the apples were imported; mainly from Poland and Moldova.

Medvedev wants own breeding
Russian Prime Minister Medvedev wants Russia to become less dependent on import of seeds and seedlings. This is one of the agenda items during a meeting on agricultural achievements this season. “Extra attention is needed to decrease our dependence on the import of seeds,” Medvedev said. The Prime Minister also announced extra grants would be made available for Russian breeding companies.

Agricultural growth slowing down
Specialists at the Russian Ministry of Agriculture expect production growth in the sector to slow down this year. The ministry announced this during the opening of the ‘Zolataya Osen’, an exhibition for the agricultural sector. According to expectations, the growth will amount to between 2-3% for 2014. Last year, production increased by 5.8%.

Udmurtia increases acreage
The republic of Udmurtia, in central Russia, is investing in the horticulture sector. The region wants to grow berries and other fruit at a commercial scale, at existing farms. One farmer already had 5 hectares allocated for an apple orchard. Over the coming years, the acreage and the number of cultivated varieties will have to increase. The regional government also hopes to sign contracts, so that the farmers are guaranteed to be able to sell.

Export Bulgaria decreases
In August, Bulgaria’s export decreased by about 33%. This can partially be explained by the closed Russian border, but the export to other countries decreased by the same percentage. All in all, the Eastern European country exported 4.7 million lev (2.4 million Euro) in August, while a year earlier that was still 5.9 million lev (3 million Euro). The most important cause of the decreasing export is the rainy summer, causing lacklustre volumes.
Statistics over the first eight months of this year show that export has been decreasing for a while. The Bulgarian export decreased by 3.4% compared to last year.

Publication date: 10/17/2014
Author: Rudolf Mulderij
Copyright: www.freshplaza.com


FreshPlaza.com

Insufficient apple supply in Russia

Insufficient apple supply in Russia

Russia stopped a shipment of Vietnamese cashews having entered Russia through Estonia. The country of origin wasn’t a matter for discussion this time, but a label was missing on the pallets. After thorough inspection of the pallets, the shipment of nuts was finally allowed into Russia. Russian producer organizations expect apple prices to increase significantly. Domestic cultivation is a lot less than consumption, and storage facilities are insufficient. Prime Minister Medvedev announced more energy will be put into Russian breeding and seed companies. This way, Russia is looking to become self-sufficient for seeds and seedlings as well.

Cashews stopped because of missing pallet label
The Russian phytosanitary inspection has stopped a shipment of cashews. That happened in Tver and Pskov at the border with Estonia. The nuts from Vietnam were imported into Russia through Estonia. This time it wasn’t the country of origin that caused the halting of the shipment, but a missing label on the pallets. For import, a label is required on the pallets to indicate that the pallet has been disinfected and does not carry any wood diseases. After a thorough inspection, the nuts were allowed into Russia after all.

Apple prices will go up
The Association of Russian Gardeners thinks prices for apples will go up. Their estimation amounts to 60 roubles (1.20 Euro) per kilo. According to the association’s chairman, the supply of apples is insufficient for meeting demand during the entire season. Starting early 2015, a shortage of apples is expected. Storage facilities are also insufficient, slowing down production. According to the organization, total apple consumption is 2 million tonnes per year, while domestic production amounts to 500-600,000 MT. Usually, domestic cultivation was on the market until December, after which the apples were imported; mainly from Poland and Moldova.

Medvedev wants own breeding
Russian Prime Minister Medvedev wants Russia to become less dependent on import of seeds and seedlings. This is one of the agenda items during a meeting on agricultural achievements this season. “Extra attention is needed to decrease our dependence on the import of seeds,” Medvedev said. The Prime Minister also announced extra grants would be made available for Russian breeding companies.

Agricultural growth slowing down
Specialists at the Russian Ministry of Agriculture expect production growth in the sector to slow down this year. The ministry announced this during the opening of the ‘Zolataya Osen’, an exhibition for the agricultural sector. According to expectations, the growth will amount to between 2-3% for 2014. Last year, production increased by 5.8%.

Udmurtia increases acreage
The republic of Udmurtia, in central Russia, is investing in the horticulture sector. The region wants to grow berries and other fruit at a commercial scale, at existing farms. One farmer already had 5 hectares allocated for an apple orchard. Over the coming years, the acreage and the number of cultivated varieties will have to increase. The regional government also hopes to sign contracts, so that the farmers are guaranteed to be able to sell.

Export Bulgaria decreases
In August, Bulgaria’s export decreased by about 33%. This can partially be explained by the closed Russian border, but the export to other countries decreased by the same percentage. All in all, the Eastern European country exported 4.7 million lev (2.4 million Euro) in August, while a year earlier that was still 5.9 million lev (3 million Euro). The most important cause of the decreasing export is the rainy summer, causing lacklustre volumes.
Statistics over the first eight months of this year show that export has been decreasing for a while. The Bulgarian export decreased by 3.4% compared to last year.

Publication date: 10/17/2014
Author: Rudolf Mulderij
Copyright: www.freshplaza.com


FreshPlaza.com

Larger supply causing difficult sales of peppers

Robbert van Essen: “Lit cultivation creates added value”
Larger supply causing difficult sales of peppers

Valstar Holland has been the market leader on the Dutch pepper market for a number of years. What is unique is that the growers who supply to the sales organisation have some lit cultivation, so that the company, with the exception of a short period and December and January, can supply peppers all year round. “Red, green and yellow peppers, as well as Jalapeños, have lit cultivation. This means we can create added value,” says Robbert van Essen, who is responsible for the pepper sales.


“Over the last few years the sales of peppers has gone quite well. Unfortunately this has meant that quite a few smaller growers have opted to join the pepper cultivation. Spain had a good pepper season this year and continued to supply for a long time, which meant they were in our way for a number of weeks. All of this resulted in a more difficult market this year. At the moment the kilo price of the red and green peppers is between 1 and 1.25 Euro and that’s quite mediocre. The expectation is that the market will improve a little over the next few weeks,” says Robbert.


Beside domestic cultivation in the Netherlands and Belgium, fixed partners in Israel and Spain supply imported peppers to Valstar Holland. “The quality is much better than that of the Moroccan peppers,” says the seller. Valstar’s main buyers of peppers are retail and wholesale in the United Kingdom, Scandinavia, Germany and the Netherlands. The first connections to the United States have already been made and it is our goal to continue to extend this export.


According to Robbert the pepper consumption is reasonably stable. “The peppers are mainly consumed by Asians. Last year we saw good sales in the special varieties such as the Jalapeño, Habanero and Naga Jolokia pepper, but this area has been extended and you notice there is too much pretty quickly.”


For more information:
Robbert van Essen
Valstar Holland
ABC Westland 110
2685 DB Poeldijk
T: +31 174 530817
F: +31 174 530888
[email protected]
www.valstar.nl

Publication date: 7/14/2014


FreshPlaza.com

Reorganization of crop production, trade could save China’s water supply

China’s rapid socioeconomic growth continues to tax national water resources — especially in the agricultural sector — due to increasing demands for food. And, because of the country’s climate and geography, irrigation is now widespread, burdening rivers and groundwater supplies.

One solution to these growing problems, however, might be to reorganize the country’s crop production and trade, especially in agricultural provinces such as Inner Mongolia, Heilongjiang and Hebei, according to new report issued by Princeton University’s Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs and School of Engineering and Applied Science and scientists in China and Japan.

The researchers report in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences that reducing agricultural production in these provinces and importing food commodities from other provinces or nations instead could help China conserve more water. These provinces all use large volumes of water to produce crops that are later exported to wetter regions. If balanced with more water-efficient irrigation systems locally, restructuring these regions could reduce national water use while avoiding an excessive geographically centralized agricultural production.

“Our analysis provides a framework for understanding how such policies would benefit China’s water use in the future,” said study co-author Denise Mauzerall, professor of environmental engineering and international affairs. In particular, corn production and trade at the domestic level might be an area to target as changes could significantly reduce national water use for irrigation.”

“Overall, China may want to consider a targeted investment in agricultural research and development,” said lead author Carole Dalin, a Princeton University Ph.D. student studying environmental engineering.

Of China’s industries, agriculture is the most water-intensive in terms of production and covers most of the country’s northern provinces. Crops like corn, rice and wheat thrive best in these drier regions, but rainfall is limited, and stores of underground water are diminishing. To fulfill high production demands, water is drawn from underground reservoirs (aquifers) in the northern provinces and used for irrigation more rapidly than it is replenished.

Water used during crop production is referred to as “virtual water.” Through food trade, these water resources are transferred across borders in what’s called a “virtual water trade.” The researchers found that, in China, these transfers mostly occur from dry agricultural areas to wetter provinces. This situation places strain upon China’s water reserves and will only intensify as China’s economy and consumption of water-intensive food continues to boom. While growing crops in the wetter regions would be more water efficient, land in those places is either urban or industrial or difficult geographically (mountainous terrain, etc.), the researchers report.

“The need for China to include ‘virtual water’ in its national policy has been pointed out. Our provincial-scale domestic analysis of the country’s virtual water trade is key to guiding such policy planning,” said Dalin, who is a former Princeton Environmental Institute Science, Technology and Environmental Policy fellow.

To this end, the research team — which also includes Ignacio Rodriguez-Iturbe, the James S. McDonnell Distinguished University Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering, and co-authors from China and Japan — combined a hydrological model with domestic and international trade simulations to determine the efficiency of China’s food trade in terms of water use as well as the role of foreign trade in this virtual water-trade system. In particular, the researchers sought to answer one question: Is there a way to reduce China’s water use without decreasing national food security?

The researchers looked at domestic and international trade of corn, rice, soy and wheat, along with such livestock products as ruminant (animals like cattle, goats and sheep that subsist on plant matter), pork and poultry. These products accounted for 93 percent of China’s domestic food supply in 2005, the last year with available data. The researchers combined this information with water use across provinces — from both rainfall and irrigation sources — and determined how much water was transferred between provinces through food trade.

To obtain estimates of these water transfers, the researchers analyzed how much food was traded between provinces and the water amount needed to produce each type of food. They determined the amount of water transferred in kilograms by multiplying the traded volume of a specific food item by the water used to produce a unit of this item (the item’s “virtual water content”) in the exporting province.

The researchers found that irrigation accounts for about 25 percent of water used to produce crops and for 16 percent of water used in meat production in China. However, those numbers skyrocket in Xinjiang, Ningxia and Inner Mongolia, where irrigation water is used predominantly for crop production (85 percent, 69 percent and 49 percent, respectively.) These numbers indicate that such provinces see little rainfall during the growing season and rely heavily on sometimes non-renewable water resources, such as groundwater.

“This shows us that water is being used faster than it is being replenished, which cannot go on indefinitely,” Mauzerall said.

Finally, the researchers investigated whether Chinese food trade leads to global water savings. They found that domestic corn trade leads to significant losses of irrigation water resources (such as rivers, reservoirs and groundwater). However, the provinces of Hubei, Henan, Jiangsu and Anhui, produce wheat quite efficiently, and their exports lead to large national water savings for both rainfall and irrigation water.

“Our work highlights opportunities for addressing water scarcity in China by adjusting where water intensive crops are grown and how they are traded” said Mauzerall. “Policies which encourage such adjustments can help conserve water while maintaining China’s food security.”

Agriculture and Food News — ScienceDaily

KeHE will supply Safeway’s Texas stores

KeHE Distributors, Naperville, Ill., said Thursday it has reached an agreement with Safeway to become the specialty and natural food supplier for the chain’s 97 Texas stores.

The deal encompasses 63 Tom Thumbs in the Dallas-Fort Worth area and 44 Randalls in the Houston and Austin markets.

KeHE, which already distributes specialty cheeses to both chains, will begin supplying specialty and natural foods to the division on Sept. 1.

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