A delegation of Thai plant health inspectors visited Spain’s Jerte Valley last week to tour the region’s orchards and packhouses and monitor pest control programmes.
The visit is the latest step towards the signing of a protocol paving the way for Spanish cherry exports to Thailand, the culmination of a process started several years ago.
Representatives from the regional government and Spain’s Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries, Food and the Environment were also present on the visit, which took in several packhouses and gave Thai officials an opportunity to look at sorting, packing and storage facilities and analyse pest control and traceability measures in situ.
Spanish stonefruit producers have set their sights on conquering new markets in a bid to find alternatives to the EU market, which has come under increasing pressure since the Russian ban on European-grown fruits and vegetables was introduced in August 2014.
Progress in Asia has been slow, however. Up to now the focus has been on Malaysia, Singapore and Hong Kong, but moves are now underway to explore new avenues.
A number of companies made their first shipments to China last season following the opening of this market to Spanish peaches and plums in earlier that year.