Fruit Logistica, the most international fair in the fresh produce sector, visited Zaragoza to promote the export opportunities in the Asian continent for Aragonese producers
The Councillor of Rural Development and Sustainability, Joaquín Olona, who was in charge of opening the event, took the opportunity to congratulate the fruit and vegetable producers who gathered in the Pignatelli building, headquarters of the Government of Aragon, for the "exemplary internationalization and rapid adaptation of the sector in the framework of the Russian veto." Olona also took the opportunity to show his opposition to the agreement proposed by the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries, Food and Environment regarding the CAP. He says it leaves fruit growers and other producers without direct aid, and encouraged companies to report the difficulties they come across in the administrative formalities. The Councillor also praised the "will, focus and commitment to internationalization" carried out by the sector and advocated working on concentrating the demand.
After the welcome, Oliver Huesmann, CEO of the international consultancy firm Fruit Consulting, outlined the business opportunities in the Asian markets. "Besides the political uncertainty in some European countries, such as the UK or France, we must also take into account the closure of the Russian borders to Spanish products and the strong competition which no longer comes just from nearby markets with which Spain shares the season, such as Egypt or Turkey, but also from overseas imports," stressed Huesmann. In this context, he recommended looking beyond Europe, which "with 580 million inhabitants is far from the 5 billion that inhabit Asia, where the consumption of food products is expected to increase by 40% by 2030," he added.
Among all the Asian markets, Huesmann pointed to China as the most interesting one for internationalization in Asia because of the distribution of its population (with more than 100 cities exceeding 5 million inhabitants), the elimination of the one-child policy, which opens the door to a generation that is not yet familiar with brands, but is receptive to our products, and the need for imports of the Asian country, where only 10% of the land is suitable for agriculture. Regarding trends, he pointed to the tighter controls in the field of food safety, the increased popularity of organic products, the interest in receiving original products from Europe and the buying behaviour of the population in China, where 70% of fresh products are bought in small stores.
To outline the financial part of exporting to Asia, the event counted with the participation of Leticia Alfaro García, head of International Business of the Business Banking Unit of Ibercaja. Alfaro commented on the importance of institutional, legal, logistical and financial support in this type of transactions and paid particular attention to the means of payment to be agreed with the importer. "In Europe, wire transfers are the most common method, while in Asia there is a frequent use of remittances and documentary credits. The latter include a bank guarantee that minimises the risk of non-payments. The level of trust between the parties is fundamental when establishing the means of payment and it is very important to negotiate the terms of delivery and reduce exchange rate risk in order to obtain the desired profit," explained Alfaro.
Closing the event, Silvia de Juanes, Communication Director of Fruit Logistica for Spain and Latin America, presented the activities that will be part of this year's Asia Fruit Logistica, the biggest event for fresh produce in Asia, which has become consolidated over the course of its 11 editions. De Juanes reviewed the development experienced by the fair and highlighted the profile of the professional visitors who attend it. "58% of the visitors are importers/exporters in the sector and 66% of the total visitors come from countries across Asia. Without a doubt, attending the fair is a gateway to entering Asian markets," she pointed out.