Fruitnet.com's partner publications Fresh Produce Journal, Eurofruit, Asiafruit and Americafruit have teamed up to publish a series of special interviews to coincide with the FIFA World Cup, featuring a member of the fresh produce industry from each of the 32 nations involved in the tournament.
First up, it's Homero Levy de Barros from Brazilian firm HLB Specialities and Neven Kurtovic of Univeg Croatia, ahead of their teams' Group A tournament opener later today (12 June):
What is your firm’s world-beating service or product?
Homero Levy de Barros: HLB provides the world-famous Brazilian papayas.
Neven Kurtovic: We are a ‘bridge’ between Univeg sources worldwide and the end customer in the area of south-eastern Europe, as well as a bridge between the growers from SE Europe and the rest of the EU market via the Univeg network.
What does the World Cup mean to people in your country?
HLdB: It means a month of nail biting, stomach crunching and an explosion of joy.
NK: As a small country of just 4.2 million people, being in Brazil among the biggest and strongest football countries is already a success. This gives us a chance to increase our visibility, market our tourism industry and finally gives us an additional motivation to fight on the global market.
How do you think your national team will fare in Brazil?
HLdB: The team is not as good as at the last World Cup, but we are known for being eternal optimists in Brazil.
NK: It is important for Croatian players to show a high level of motivation and excellent team-work. Having this in combination with the experience of players like Luka Modrić, of Real Madrid, Mario Mandukić, of Bayern Munich, and Ivan Rakitić, of Sevilla, Croatia can go as far as the final.