Malaysian fresh fruit and vegetable suppliers will be out in good numbers at Fruit Logistica this year on the Federal Agricultural Marketing Authority’s (FAMA) stand. “We expect to have around 10 participants representing a wide range of products,” says the senior director of FAMA’s international division Nazipah Jamaludin.
While carambola, also known as starfruit, remains Malaysia’s flagship fruit export to Europe, FAMA will place great emphasis on its seedless watermelon this year. “Our seedless watermelon has been in the market for two or three years but we want to push it in Europe this year,” she says.
Other products up for promotion will include passion fruit, rambutan, pineapples, mangosteen, papaya and, of course, carambola. “We want to do more retail promotion of our carambola in Europe and boost our presence in this sector,” Ms Jamaludin says. “We’ll start with the Netherlands from this year.”
Malaysian carambola has mainly been used for garnishing purposes in the European markets to date, according to Ms Jamaludin, but FAMA plans to increase its penetration at retail level with a focus on general consumption. “We’ll be promoting carambola with higher brix levels that are sweeter and more for fresh consumption,” she remarks.
Other novelties appearing on the FAMA stand will be minimally-processed jackfruit and pineapple; tropical fruit juices; dried tropical fruits; and ready-to-eat starfruit.
Meanwhile, the Malaysian Agrifood Corporation (MAFC) will once again be showcasing its Paiola papaya.
Paiola was exhibited at the show last year and was even nominated for the Fruit Logistica Innovation Award, but MAFC’s vice-president of international sales Mohd Hafizuddin Bin Abdullah feels there is still much work to be done to raise awareness of the unique product.
According to Mr Hafizuddin, Paiola is differentiated from other papaya varieties by its clean, golden skin when ripe; its firm flesh and storage attributes; and its consistent high yields.
“Most papayas would be soft or mushy when they reach full fruit colour or maturity, whereas Paiola achieves a uniform golden skin colour while retaining its firm flesh,” he explains. “Its firm flesh enables the fruit to be stored for 30 days, which is two weeks longer then conventional varieties.
“Paiola’s delicate flavour and fragance are unique and its deep salmon-coloured flesh is very sweet, with brix levels consistently exceeding 13°,” he adds.
MAFC will be targeting international buyers for Paiola at Fruit Logistica with an emphasis on the EU trade, he notes. Furthermore, the company is confident of backing up buyer interest with consistent supplies of the young variety in 2010.
“In 2009, the harvest was light, so we were unable to reach many markets,” Mr Hafizuddin says. “But in 2010, with the harvest from the 400ha planted to Paiola due to take place early in the year, we’ll be able to reach a wider market consistently throughout the year.”