More than 100 members of the Peruvian produce industry will be heading for Hong Kong in September for the tenth edition of Asia Fruit Logistica, and having secured a raft of new import protocols during the past year, business is sure to be brisk.
Representatives from AGAP’s six producer guilds: Apem, Procitrus, Prohass, Provid, Proganada and Proarándanos will be in attendance at Peru’s 200m2 pavillion, including AGAP president Enrique Camet.
The otherwise smooth trajectory of Peruvian fresh produce exports to Asia hit a bump in the road last year when exports fell by 4 per cent in value terms. The drop was caused by a contraction in demand and consequent drop in the price of grapes in China. It served, says Camet, as a timely wake-up call for the industry.
“Our Asian exports are highly concentrated in China and Hong Kong, which together absorb two-thirds of our export volume and are concentrated on a single product, namely grapes which account for 90 per cent of our offer,” he says. “While we therefore hope to continue growing in these markets, we recognise the need to diversify.”
Japan, for example, is of great interest because of its high purchasing power, its 127m inhabitants enjoying a per capita income of over US$45,000. Exporters are awaiting with great interest the outcome of negotiations to open up the market for Peruvian grapes, citrus, blueberries and pomegranates.
The South Korean market is also developing at a brisk pace for grapes, bananas and mangoes, says Camet. “Elsewhere, we’re looking to grow in Vietnam, Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, India and Taiwan.
In terms of product diversification, the focus is on boosting exports of avocado, mango, citrus, blueberries and pomegranates, as well as new seedless grape varieties.
Shipments of avocados, in particular, are poised for major growth following the signing of import protocols with China and Japan in 2015. “We only sent trial shipments last year but in 2016 Prohass estimates that shipments could reach 220 containers for China and 70 for Japan,” Camet says.
Getting the go-ahead to ship fresh mangoes to South Korea was another major achievement for the sector and producer organisation Apem has organised a trade mission to the country in the run-up to this year’s Asia Fruit Logistica in order to build momentum in this market.
With regards to vegetables, Camet flags up the shipment of the first container of fresh asparagus from northern Peru to China in April – another product with huge growth potential.
“We’re also awaiting a decision on a new Japanese import protocol for certain citrus varieties, initially Satsumas, and subsequently Clementines and Murcott,” Camet continues, adding that South Korea could be another attractive market for Peruvian citrus. “All in all, the forecast for the coming year is very positive.”
With the dominance of Red Globe now on the wane and producers turning increasingly to seedless alternatives like Sugraone, Flame, Crimson and Thompson – not to mention the more than 40 new varieties currently being trialled – the long-term outlook for the Peruvian produce industry remains highly promising.
Among the new products currently under development are raspberries, cherries, almonds, pistachios, blackberries, kiwifruit, custard apple, guava, passion fruit and squash. Add to this the new varieties of citrus, pepper and grapes already mentioned and it’s easy to see why Peru is on course to double is fresh produce exports by 2020.