Belgian pears have gained access to the Brazilian market following the efforts of VBT, the Belgian Association of Horticultural Auctions, and fruit cooperatives across the country.
The announcement also comes following last month’s visit of the Brazilian minister of agriculture, Blairo Maggi, who led an extensive delegation to Belgium, in part to discuss market access for Belgian pears.
At that meeting in Brussels, Marc Evrard, commercial director of Belgische Fruitveiling (BFV), Belgium’s largest topfruit cooperative, pleaded the case for Conference pears, handing over a box of BFV's Truval-branded pears to Maggi and Odilson Silva, secretary of agribusiness international relations to the minister of agriculture.
“We will look to start sending as soon as the first pears are picked, pre-cooled and packed,” said Evrard. “If we look at past seasons, we usually start harvesting somewhere between mid-August and the beginning of September.”
Exports are set to be supported by a nationwide marketing campaign, focused on the Conference variety, which accounts for the bulk of Belgian pear volumes.
“It’s not going to be easy, as Brazilian consumers are not used to the Conference,” said Evrard. “Some will be familiar with Rocha pears from Portugal, but these are quite different. Nevertheless, in trials we have had very positive reactions. BFV has built up a lot of experience in opening markets to new varieties, so we’re confident.”