The Hispano-Franco-Italian Contact Group, made up of representatives of strawberry producers from France, Italy and Spain – grouped together in the Producers and Exporters Association of Fresa de Huelva, Freshuelva, integrated in FEPEX, held a meeting end of February to analyze the current campaign and the status of joint work developed in the phytosanitary field. Thus, they have agreed to demand from the respective administrations a greater control of the re-packaging of strawberries from other countries – after highlighting that this fact is occurring with the Moroccan strawberry in Spain or with the German strawberry in France – as well as scrupulous compliance of phytosanitary regulations, guaranteeing consumer safety at all times.
In this meeting, held annually 20 years ago, Spanish, French and Italian producers exchange experiences and analyze the challenges of the global market together with the aim that the strawberry is a product with a strategic position in the international market.
The representatives of the three countries assessed the start of the last campaign and reviewed the data of the last campaign, very similar to those recorded in 2016.
The manager of Freshuelva, Rafael Domínguez has emphasized that the past campaign closed with a production of 302.500 tonnes and a turnover of 455 million euros, being Germany, France, United Kingdom and Italy the main countries of destination
In the same way, he highlighted that in the current campaign the trend of the last two years has changed and that the cultivation of strawberries has increased by 9%.
Caroline Granado, on behalf of the APOn Fraises de France, reported that her organization, which brings together 550 producers and 45% of the sector, produced last year 22,000 tons of strawberries, predicting that this figure will increase between 2 and 3% in the current campaign
For his part, Federico Nicodemo, commercial director of Nicofruit and representative of Asso Fruit Italia, explained that the production of strawberries in Italy last season reached 150,000 tons, with a turnover of 303 million euros. The main countries of destination of exports were Germany, Austria, Slovenia and Croatia.
The Contact Group also opened a new line of cooperation on promotion, agreeing to make joint proposals within the framework of the promotion policy of the European Commission.
The president, Alberto Garrocho, attended the meeting held in Freshuelva; the manager, Rafael Domínguez; the first vice president, José Antonio Márquez, and the treasurer, Manuel Limón. On the part of France, Xavier Mas and Caroline Granado attended; and from Italy, Demetrio, Federico and Gabriel Nicodemo. Manuel Piedra did it on behalf of UPA, while Ismael Aguilar and Enrique Acción attended the meeting on behalf of COAG; and Félix Sanz, by Asaja. Finally, also attended the Agricultural Counselor of the Embassy of Spain in France, María José Hernández.
The Spanish-French-Italian contact group also made a technical visit to plantations of strawberries and other berries of the province, such as Bonafrú, in Bonares, and Cuna de Platero, in Moguer, where they have been able to verify the evolution of the different varieties, as well as the techniques of production and biological control of pests that are practiced in the Huelva fields.
The Strawberry Group is one of the contact groups that were created within the framework of the Mixed Committee Hispano-Francés of fruits and vegetables 20 years ago, which was joined by Italy in 2010, and which meets on an annual basis.