MADRID: A total of ten Extremaduran companies have exported 800,000 kilos of fruit to China during the first year in which the region has been able to ship fruit to the Asian giant.
The president of the Association of Fruit Growers of Extremadura (Afruex), Miguel Ángel Gómez, said that the outcome has been positive, as the volume exported has been greater than initially expected. This first experience, with a focus mainly on shipping plums, has served as a test to be ready for the export of other fruits in the next campaign. China is a market with great potential for Extremaduran fruit, not only because of its large population, but also its growing middle and upper class, as well as the country’s traditional customs.
One of these, as recalled by Miguel Ángel Gómez, is that Chinese citizens usually give fruit as a gift to mark various celebrations. Furthermore, “the economic level is getting higher in China, so its inhabitants consume lots of imported fruit.” Chinese consumers fundamentally prefer fruit with a great flavour and very sweet, so Extremaduran exports must adapt to these requirements by shipping the most suitable varieties and sizes.
Gómez stated that the requirements of Asian consumers are very different to those in Europe, which forces EU companies to take these variables into account.
The shipments are carried out mainly by sea, through the ports of Algeciras (Cadiz) and Valencia, among others, which Extremaduran trucks reach by road. In this sense, Miguel Ángel Gómez has acknowledged how helpful it would be for the region of Extremadura to have access to a more modern rail network.
The fruit must obviously be prepared for a long haul, but beyond that, the transport requirements are similar to those of the EU. Next year, exports to China are expected to be much greater, although this will depend on various circumstances; for example, how the campaign itself develops in the region of Extremadura.