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Italy shows great interest this year as well for the Greek chestnut - large sized varieties are the most wanted

25/09/2020 02:48 pm
Long lasted drought is expected to reduce agricultural output and Large-sized chestnuts.

Long lasted drought is expected to reduce agricultural output and Large-sized chestnuts.

Growers and cooperative members from Melivoia (Thessaly district), where this well-known product is produced, were expecting a normal season in terms of output volume and sizes. However, the long-lasted drought period during last month seems to change the situation profoundly. As Mr Evangelos Kraniotis, Head of the Agricultural Cooperative of Melivoia explains to AgroTypos, due to drought, harvesting will delay and will fully start at the beginning of October. Due to drought, many badly irrigated fields or fields without watering system are not expected to produce crops, thus we expect an output reduction. According to Mr Kraniotis, drought seems to have impact on the size of chestnuts as well. This means that most large -sized chestnuts and more specifically the first two categories of 35 -45 pieces and 45-55 pieces per kilo will be in short supply and thus will have great demand. The Cooperative of Melivoia is expecting this year from merchants to show great interest for chestnuts, as they did in previous years as well, because they show significant interest although production is quite low. There are not any significant problems from diseases and crops are expected to be extraordinary in terms of quality. However, according to Mr Kraniotis, blackening is a constant problem for some growers which contributes in loss of crops.

Chestnut harvesting is expected to begin around September 20th – 22th, says Mr Eleftherios Poulios, grower from Pieria mountains in the district of Macedonia. According to him, the season goes well in terms of crops, however there is a reduction in output dueto a fungus in the area, like last year. Of course, as he explained to us, the necessary applications with fungicides were made and the situation is now much better than last year.  Of course, the impact of the chestnut tree wasp, which is also causing problems to Pieria, is much lower, as Mr Poulios tells us, who owns 40-year-old chestnut trees in irrigated fields. Another problem, which increases production cost this year is extended drought in the district of Pieria. “One month has passed without any rains” as the experienced grower states to AgroTypos and continues: “For this reason we water every tree with three nozzles for 6 to 8 hours, but water is still not enough. They should be watered much more”. Mr Poulios continues saying that chestnut quality is extraordinary and larger sizes will be at 30-40 pieces, which were sold at 3.10 – 3.20 euros per kilo. As Mr Poulios explains, a good sign is the fact that Italy shows great interest, like every year, and more specifically 2-3 merchants would like to buy crops, so there is no need to worry about the corona virus.

Chestnut cultivation in Pilio goes extremely well this year. It is another cultivating zone of Thessaly meadow and more specifically in the municipality of Zagora – Mouresio, which is the basic growing center of the district of Magnisia, as Mr Thanassis Koundrias, agronomist and stockholder of Agromichaniki Volos S.A. says to AgroTypos. According to this experienced agronomist, specifically this year chestnut trees are free from fungi, due to lack of humidity and there were no crop losses from hail, like there were in previous years. Moreover, there were not any issues caused by European codling moth and above all the most positive is the fact that there are no signs of the chestnut tree wasp in Pilio. Mr Koundrias also says that in this area a special variety is cultivated, which is very tasty and highly demanded by other countries, especially by Italy. Lastly, according to Mr Koundrias, sizes are expected to be very good and commercial interest has already been shown and it is very high, so it is certain that lux sizes will reach last year’s prices of 3.20 – 3.30 euros per kilo. Harvesting in some premature crops has already begun, but is expected to increase around September 25th.

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29/10/2020 12:10 pm

INC Consumer Study Finds Energy Boosting and Digestive Healthy Foods Among the Fastest Growing Trends, with Immune Support Expected to Grow.

Trends show that within the next five years, energy boosting and digestive health will be all the more important to consumers and immune support must also be watched as a focus on the immune system is likely due to COVID-19.

Consuming foods that boost energy, and support digestive health are among the largest and fastest growing consumer trends. In a recent consumer trend study, it was found that these two markets are forecasted to be the fastest growers among the health and wellness category.

By 2024, the market size for products boosting energy is forecasted to grow 50% and products supporting digestive health are forecasted to grow 32%. The study also showed that weight management was still the largest area of concern for consumers, however, it is not forecasted to grow as quickly as those previously mentioned. Furthermore, one interesting trend to keep on the radar is immune support.

With many people concerned over the COVID-19 pandemic, consumer focus on a healthy diet will likely deepen. Already the trend research showed that companies are increasingly expanding into this market and this trend is expected to only grow in a post-COVID-19 normality.

In North America, more than one-third of vitamin and mineral products advertise an immune supportive claim and in AsiaPacific, nearly half of the vitamin and mineral products released within the last year promote an immune supportive claim.

The trend research was conducted by the International Nut and Dried Fruit Council as part of the 2020-2021 Dissemination plan in efforts to increase the global consumption of nuts and dried fruits while also circulating the health benefits.

14/10/2020 01:35 pm

Last week, the European Chestnut Network organised its first ever webinar on the current harvest, market prospects in Europe, and the impact of the health crisis. 

On October 7, Eurocastanea, the European chestnut network brought online nearly 70 operators from the chestnut sectors: producers, APOs and marketers from 8 countries. Participants from Austria, Spain, France, Greece, Italy, Portugal, Morocco and Chile connected to follow this mini conference on this season’s chestnut production and the impact of the covid-19 on consumption. Three main themes emerged : tree’s health, new plantations and the 2020 production figures. 

The management of the gall wasp 
European countries have all achieved a protocol for the organic management of the gall wasp (Dryocosmus kuriphilus) through the introduction of Torymus. This method is effective and allows a fairly good control of the pest who caused significant losses to past year’s production. For example, this solution made it possible for Italy to return to its full production potential. However, Spain, Portugal and the Limousin area in France are still showing yield losses, the populations of the pest and the auxiliary are not yet balanced. 

The development of chestnut plantations 
The European market faces a high demand in chestnut but the offer remains low. Still, efficient plantation dynamics are now set up in many European regions such as Portugal, the North of Spain and in France.  

Production prospects 2020 
Portugal estimates that its production will amount to 36.000 tonnes, with medium sizes and good quality. Its production is developing with the entry into the market of fruits from new orchards. 
In France, there is a fairly good harvest in the south-east. It is weaker in the southwest. 
The Italian harvest is estimated at 20 to 30% higher than that of 2019 in most regions. Italy should thus retrieve its full production potential. 
The production forecast for Spain is around 28.000 tonnes, it will be in deficit due to losses linked to the gall wasp. 
Finally, Austria is seeing its production increase, new rational orchards are gradually coming into production. But its harvested volumes have always been much lower than those of other EU producer countries. 

Common issues 
During the webinar, topics common to the 5 countries of the Eurocastanea network were highlighted. The first subject is the control of diseases (chestnut blight, fruit rots, root dieback) due to climate change, hot and dry summers and autumns. 
Second important point, the establishment of a water management policy appeared to be essential for a viable production. 
Finally, speakers from each country recognized that it is indispensable to stimulate the market and consumption, and to communicate, especially to young people.

13/10/2020 04:46 pm

As part of the company’s Future of Farming Dialogue virtual event series, Liam Condon, President of the Crop Science division of Bayer, emphasized the importance of the company’s sustainability commitments it set in 2019.

Condon addressed how the impact of COVID-19 and the resulting economic instability reinforced the need to intensify the focus on agricultural innovation and help make agriculture part of the solution to climate change, while continuing to ensure food security for all. 

“The agricultural industry is no stranger to adversity - from flooding to drought to pest infestations - and COVID-19 is yet another stark reminder of the need to create a more sustainable and resilient food system to ensure food security,” said Condon. “Innovation, science and collaboration are key to not only solving the pandemic but also necessary in agriculture to solve the present and future challenges facing farmers.”

The Future of Farming Dialogue features a variety of internationally renowned speakers and stakeholders from academia, industry and media. The focus of discussion is how to build more resilient food systems, accelerate sustainable-driven innovations and develop new business models that can reward farmers for their services to the ecosystem.

Condon commented on Bayer’s sustainability commitments: “Especially in challenging times, it’s our responsibility to help ensure food security and reduce our environmental footprint. We also need to help farmers do the same by providing the products, services and technologies needed to produce enough food while using less resources and caring for the environment. The key to this is innovation and this is what we continue to drive forward.”

To underscore this, the company recently launched products and initiatives that highlight its commitment to agricultural innovation and digitalization, critical levers in driving a more sustainable food system. This includes:

  • An industry-first, externally developed model that can measure the environmental impact of any crop protection product in any crop around the world. So far, the company has used this model to screen its entire portfolio and its uses around the world to understand the sustainability implications.
  • The launch of the Bayer Carbon Initiative to help growers generate revenue for adopting specific climate-smart practices. Bayer is paving the way towards a carbon-zero future for agriculture through this innovative, science-based and collaborative pilot program with the potential to deliver unmatched value to many more farmers through expansion in the U.S. and Brazil and other world regions.
  • The recent introduction of a new short stature corn product in Mexico, known as VITALA. The VITALA system consists of a new hybrid maize and best practices in agronomy to help farmers in Mexico grow more using less resources. Bayer is continuing to research and conduct trials with the goal of introducing region-specific varieties in other markets that will allow farmers around the world to experience the same benefits.
  • The ‘Better Life Farming Alliance’, an initiative led by Bayer to empower smallholder farming communities. Together with partners, this alliance provides, know-how, inputs, financial solutions and market access to them. This year saw the expansion of support to Indonesia and Bangladesh and new banking services in India. Bayer also provided seeds and crop protection inputs along with market assistance and support for health and safety needs due to COVID-19 for smallholder farmers in Asia, Africa and Latin America. Better Life Farming is also testing and implementing gender-smart approaches and creating new job opportunities for youth.

These efforts - on top of many others - are already helping Bayer fulfill its commitments to empower 100 million smallholder farmers through access, agronomic knowledge, tools and partnerships; reduce field greenhouse gas emissions produced by key crops in major agricultural markets by 30 percent; and reduce the environmental impact of crop protection 30 percent by 2030. For more updates on how Bayer will continue to partner with key stakeholders to advance its sustainability commitments, visit the Bayer Sustainability Hub. 

“By integrating sustainability into our core business, we are able to not only help ensure food security, but also transform agriculture so that it can become part of the solution for climate change,” added Condon.
 

06/10/2020 10:32 am

Things go bad this year in the pistachio nut market as prices go straight down. They have an average price of 6-7 euros per kilo for open pistachio nuts and 4 euros per kilo for closed ones.

These prices are very low compared to last year’s ones. Merchants try to buy from growers at low price because of the pandemic and the measures which were taken for catering (in night clubs and bars we have large consumption). Italians do not show any commercial interest and when they give offers, they give at extremely low prices. The good thing about that is the fact that Russians and Chinese have shown up in the Greek market, and they are interested in buying pistachio at a good price. In addition, illegal pistachio traffic creates great problem, as it lowers prices even more.

As Mr Makis Bourgos, grower and board member of the Agricultural Cooperative of Pistachio Growers in Makri Fthiotida (district in Central Greece), states to AgroTypos, «this year qualities are extraordinary and outputs are good. Few acts of sale were made in this area. Few sold pistachio had grower’s price at 7 euros per kilo for open nuts. Until now the Cooperative has collected about 150 tons. One positive thing is that Russians and Chinese show interest and have made contact with the cooperative and they discuss to buy large quantities in good price which is similar to last year».

As Mr Thomas Menidiatis, agronomist of Agricultural Cooperative of Megara (district of Attica), states to AgroTypos, «this year, the market is quite different compared to last year. Domestic demand is reduced due to measures taken in catering against the pandemic, but also Italians do not show any commercial interest and when they show up, they give prices which have nothing to do with last year’s ones (5.5 euros per kilo for open pistachio nuts). Local market gives grower’s price at 6 euros for open nuts (last year during this season the price was 8.5 euros) and 4 euros for closed nuts (last year they costed 7.5 euros)».

According to Mr. Yannis Dimopoulos, agronomist of the Agricultural Cooperative «Pistachio Nut of Molos – Thermopilae» (District of Fthiotida), who spoke to AgroTypos, «this year’s output is increased at an amount of 50% compared to last year. We are talking about very good quality with big sizes and open nuts. However, prices have nothing to do with last year’s ones. The Cooperative still receives stock from growers and continues in sorting it out, thus it has not announced any prices yet. However, local market shows that prices have nothing to do with last year’s ones. Domestic demand has decreased due to measures taken in catering for the pandemic. Italians come to this area, but they give prices at low level compared to last year which may reach to 6.5 euros per kilo at best for open nuts».

Mr Nikos Staboulis, head of Agricultural Cooperative of Pistachio Growers in the Island of Aegina, states that the Cooperative announced a price of 8.70 euros for open nuts and 6.30 euros for closed ones and agricultural output in the area is quite good in terms of quantity and extraordinary in terms of quality. He also says, «however, illegal trafficking of pistachio in the island as well as in the rest of the country without any official papers is a big problem. The Greek government must make inspections some time. We cannot take on illegal traffickers who do not issue invoices and are free from VAT. Someday the market must work with rules».

23/09/2020 11:42 am

The French National Federation of Maize and Sorghum Seed Production (the F.N.P.S.M.S.) has recently updated its data regarding maize seed uses and resources on the European market, thus integrating the aggregated results of the 2019/20 marketing year and the first production trends for 2020.

The record increases in areas planted to grain, and feed, maize – witnessed throughout Europe in the spring of 2020 – have been followed by unparalleled levels of maize seed production. On the other hand, the first production estimates for 2020/21 indicate that yields have been impacted by several weather factors. As a result, tensions might be noticed for some hybrids during the next marketing season, especially since maize area is expected to remain high in 2021.

Seed Production Impacted in 2020

Despite a 16-percent increase in the European seed maize areas in 2020, the crops have been affected by difficult weather this summer: unfavourable conditions at the time of emergence, strong heat waves with record highs in August and September, and drought – all of which have prevented producers from attaining their targets for this season.

Production: Below Expectations in France…

France – the first European maize seed producer – should attain nearly 90 percent of its production targets, off an area of 80.000 hectares.

…and in Other Countries

Weather conditions have been difficult in other European maize production countries, too, in 2020, leading to below-target production levels in Hungary (90-95 percent) and Romania (75-80 percent).

Lower Supply, Despite a Strong Demand

Maize demand was strong during the 2020 grain and feed maize plantings and impacted the carry-over stocks. Likely production deficits in 2020 should prevent stock rebuilding, which had been envisaged on account of a 16- percent increase in the European production program. As to the use of maize seed from the next season, several developments point to a higher demand in 2021: difficult rapeseed plantings in some of the major European producing countries; the need to rebuild feed stocks against the backdrop of drought, and the ongoing genetic progress made in the field of maize, with forty-six new hybrids included in the French catalogue in 2020. Despite the strong demand, maize seed production has been affected by unfavourable weather. As a result, the supply may be under significant tension for some maize hybrids.

Pierre Pagès, head of the F.N.P.S.M.S., statement: «In this complicated weather context, the entire maize industry has come together to help maintain the high quality level of our seeds, which characterises French production and enables us to be the top maize producers and exporters in Europe».

14/09/2020 02:44 pm

Exclusive interview to AgroTypos with representatives of the Spanish Association of Olive Tree Municipalities (Asociación Española de Municipios del Olivo - AEMO).

The director of AEMO, Mr Jose Mª Penco, talks to us about this sector’s problems and makes predictions about new olive oil production in Spain (2020/2021).

The director of AEMO, Mr Jose Mª Penco
The director of AEMO, Mr Jose Mª Penco

Mr José Mª Penco (Córdoba, 1968) is Agricultural Engineer and Master in Olive Growing and Olive Oil by Cordoba University. Manager of the Spanish Association of Olive Tree Municipalities (AEMO). Olive mill Designer and International EVOO Quality Consultant. Taster, member and panel leader of numerous national and international competitions on quality in extra virgin olive oil. Director of EVOOLEUM AWARDS. Professor of different masters in the universities of Jaén, Córdoba, Madrid.

1) What is AEMO, what is its goal and what actions does it take?

The Spanish Association of Municipalities of the Olive Tree, AEMO, is made up of 150 members, including municipalities, provincial governments and protected designations of origin (DPO) from all of olive-growing Spain. Our partners are distributed in 7 regions of Spain, from Catalonia to Andalusia where there are logically a greater number of partners. AEMO partners represent more than 75% of the production in Spain.

Our goal is to maintain olive cultivation in our territory, so that olive growers have a decent income because this cultivation is a hallmark of our peoples from ancient times.

To achieve this we developed a series of actions aimed primarily at the dignity and promotion of virgin olive oil and table olives. Among others we do the following actions:

  • Campaigns for the promotion and awareness of extra virgin olive oil, through tastings for consumers, children, restaurateurs and chefs.
  • Training courses for olive growers on the best management of olive cultivation so that it is environmentally and economically sustainable.
  • Studies and reports on production, consumption, cultivation costs, etc.
  • Announcement of prizes for the best monumental olive tree, or projects to disseminate the culture of the olive tree etc.

2) What are the main problems of olive tree cultivation in Spain? What are the new tendencies in olive oil market in terms of quality?

The main current problem of olive cultivation in Spain is the low price of virgin olive oil in origin, which is lower than the production costs.

AEMO has just carried out a complete study of the production costs of a kg of olive oil in Spain, and the results for the traditional olive grove is that it costs between 2.7 and 3.5 euros to produce a kg of olive oil (depending on whether or not there is irrigation and the slope of the farm). Therefore, if the price of the oil at source is € 2.0 / kg (for the extra virgin), then the Spanish olive growers are in losses and this situation is not sustainable for much longer. We are also aware that this problem does not occur only in Spain, but also in other Mediterranean countries such as Greece among others.

Another more recent problem of the olive grove in Spain is the import restrictions of Spanish olive oil packaged to the USA. We think that it is unfair and regrettable that the Trump administration particularly punishes our country with this measure that is doing a lot of damage to Spanish exports.

Regarding solutions, in our opinion, the main solution is to obtain oils of the highest quality and carry out ambitious promotional campaigns in third countries so that we increase demand and thus balance the market.

In terms of quality, things are getting better and better in Spain, in recent years measures have been established to advance harvesting, cold grinding, use of two-phase centrifugation, etc. Therefore, the Spanish oil mills are ready to make the highest quality and it is done. In recent years and in the most important international competitions, Spain has led the honor roll. We have the highest quality but we must know how to communicate and sell it.

3) What do you think about the measures which were announced by EU whose purpose is the reduction of stock (private storage)? Do they have any positive outcome on price?

In our opinion, these temporary measures of private storage may have some impact on the price but only in the short term and we really think that they do not solve the problem.
The packers are aware that if the oil is stored for a while, it will later return to the market and therefore they are not persuaded by this measure.
We believe that the measures that the EU should employ are to promote campaigns to promote the oil of our territory throughout the world, together with the sector the EU should finance large campaigns in new consumer countries such as Brazil, India, Korea, Russia or China. And also in traditional consumers such as the USA, Japan or central Europe.

4) In about two months the new olive oil crop period is expected to begin (2020/2021). What are your predictions about the amount of Spanish output and the stock and to what level grower’s prices will reach in your country?

Regarding the stock, or campaign link, it seems clear that it will be less than 500,000 T in Spain as of September 30, that is, at the beginning of the new campaign.

Regarding the expected production we consider that the Spanish production will not exceed 1,500,000 T of olive oil, therefore according to these data, and considering the lower expectations in the rest of the Mediterranean, we think that it will be a balanced campaign and that therefore prices should go up from the beginning of the collection. That is our opinion and desire, afterwards the market will develop like every campaign, that is, managed by speculators.

We have the best fat of all known, the healthiest and the tastiest, the Mediterranean European countries handle world production, for all this we make a call not to vanalize our extra virgin olive oil, let's make it worth the world, because we have a treasure and we don't know how to value it ... especially in Spain where we often decide the world equilibrium price.

 

14/09/2020 10:50 am

While worldwide demand about nuts is rising, in Greece some people using coronavirus as an excuse are trying to buy at low prices.

Harvesting of the pistachio nut with shell has already been done to a good level in main production zones, including the district of Fthiotida, which has the largest amounts. This year qualities are extraordinary and amounts are good.

As grower and cooperative member, Mr Yiannis Chondropoulos says to AgroTypos, the first prices which are rumored in the area for pistachio nut are at 7.50 euros for open nuts and at 5.50 for closed ones and, according to him, harvesting has already been completed without any problems at about 80%.

Like almond, so in pistachio nut with shell, great effort has been made this year using coronavirus as an excuse to press grower’s prices, but instead of reducing, the demand for nuts in the global market has increased.

It is reminded that the Cooperative of Pistachio Nut Growers in the island of Aegina has already started to receive the famous pistachio nut of the area, after it announced the applied prices.

According to the statements of the Head of the cooperative, Mr Nikos Staboulis, which he made to AgroTypos, the cooperative announced the price of 8.70 euros for open shells and 6.30 euros for closed ones, while the output in the island is relatively good in terms of quantity and extraordinary in terms of quality.

In general, last year first acts of sale of the pistachio nut with shell in the district of Fthiotida and in other places have been made at the price of 8.5 euros per kilo for open shells and at 6.5 euros for closed ones. Afterwards, the prices reached a milestone level, which growers wish to happen this year as well.

07/09/2020 11:10 am

The Organizing Committee of the 10th ISHS International Peach Symposium (link) is delighted to announce the first round of confirmed keynote speakers:

Pere Arús, Center for Research in Agricultural Genomics (CRAG), IRTA, Spain
The peach genome and its breeding applications

Daniele Bassi, University of Milan, Italy
Are we ready for the next peach? A still under-explored crop

Tiziano Caruso, University of Palermo, Italy
Propagation techniques and nursery management for the production of certified peach plants

Thomas Gradziel, University of California, Davis, USA
Exotic genes for solving emerging peach production challenges

Check out (link) for detailed profiles of each keynote speaker.

Abstract submission is now Open!

Submit your abstract through (link).

The Symposium will be comprised of plenary and ordinary sessions, workshops and poster display sessions in the following sections:

Section 1: Breeding (germplasm, rootstocks, cultivars)
Section 2: Genetics, genomics and biotechnology
Section 3: Plant physiology and abiotic stress conditions
Section 4: Plant pathology and pest management
Section 5: Nutrition, irrigation
Section 6: Cultivation practices/Mechanizations
Section 7: Postharvest physiology and technology/processing
Section 8: Economy, trade and marketing policies.

03/09/2020 10:42 am

In the next days we expect news regarding the demand from Italy while purchases were made for 2.7 euros per kilo.

The olive oil market was not very active during August for the main productivity zones. The main clue was a lack of commercial interest, due to a decrease of tourist arrivals and to the fact that Italian firms open this week.

In this context, according to information by AgroTypos, the great sale of 120 tons of extra virgin olive oil at the price of 2.65 euros per kilo by the Agricultural Cooperative of Molai – Pakia of the district of Lakonia was followed by another act of sale in the district of Lakonia as well. More specifically, the Agricultural Cooperative of Papadianikia of the municipality of Monemvasia in the district of Lakonia which has 253 farmer members, has sold a tank of extra virgin olive oil which was harvested last year for the price of 2.70 euros per kilo. Of course, in the rest of the country’s regions the vast majority of acts were made at significantly low prices for the growers.

More information is expected from Italy

We will have news about the demand and prices from Italy in the next days, according to the director of the Agricultural Cooperative of Molai – Pakia, Mr Takis Danakas, who spoke to Agrotypos. According to him, the Cooperative’s last year stocks do not exceed 300 tons, while they are expected to run out, until new season’s olive oil production. According to Mr Danakas, the upcoming crop yield is expected to be good in terms of volume, however the infection from olive fruit fly throughout the country will play major role.

Deals are already closed for new year

The cooperative olive oil of Ermionida is sold at 2.70 euros

During summer, the cooperative olive oil of Ermionida was sold for grower’s price of 2.70 euros. According to the Head of the Agricultural Cooperative Thermasia Dimitra, Konstantinos Mellos, cooperative’s extra virgin oil stock has run out. New olive oil will be ready by September 25th, while this year goes well in terms of cultivation. As Mr Mellos explains to us, the new crops are expected to be in good levels in terms of quality and quantity, while two positive elements are olive fruit fly control and taking all the measures for plant protection, including watchglassmould. Farmers in the municipality of Ermionida cross their fingers for a good weather and some rains in September. As Mr Mellos explains to us, as far as new year’s prices are concerned, a deal has already been made with a merchant to buy the whole quantity of the cooperative’s PDO Kranidi olive oil, but prices will be arranged afterwards.

Farmer prices in Crete have been stable for a month now

Olive oil growers’ prices are at the same level compared to previous month, says to Agrotypos Mr Priamos Ieronimakis, Head of Crete’s Viticulture and Olive Oil Growers Organization. According to him, acts of sale are made at prices from 1.80 to 2.50 euros per kilo, depending on the quality. At the same time, much effort is made for eliminating olive fruit fly in order to reduce problems in the next season. According to Mr Ieronimakis, the state in most of the lands is better than last year and, barring unforeseen circumstances, crop yields will be higher than last year.

08/07/2020 03:45 pm

Exclusive interview with the International Nut and Dried Fruit Council in the English version of AgroTypos.

Τhe International Nut and Dried Fruit Council spoke exclusively to AgroTypos about the effects of the coronavirus pandemic on the fruit market, as well as new consumer trends worldwide.

The interview:

The pandemic of covid-19 has affected all sectors of the world economy. The nut industry, do you think it has been affected in any way and if so by whom?

It is still too early to assess the long-term impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the global economy and specifically in the nuts sector. However, some overall trends from the early stages of the worldwide breakout around mid-March to the lockdowns ease in May-June can be identified. According to industry sources, at the time of the declaration of the COVID-19 pandemic, both in the northern hemisphere and in the southern hemisphere – going through nut harvest season– activity in the plantations continued while following the government safety and prevention protocols recommended in each country. In general, administrative staff kept carrying out their tasks through home office and processing plants continued operating at the rate imposed by security measures.

As weeks advanced from the start of the emergency, harvests and trade were more affected in some regions, mainly by the movement restrictions related to COVID-19 (shortage of truck drivers, limitations to air and sea transport, shortage of containers and long border waits due to exhaustive controls), decreasing the availability of labor and transportation of goods. As for international trade, imports of nuts into Europe slowed down, although expecting a strong post-crisis rebound, at the same time that Asian markets had begun to revive.

At this point, retail consumption of nuts increased as part of the pantry stocking, which sales grew during the first few weeks immediately after the declaration of the pandemic, followed by the rise in sales of bakery and pastry ingredients, snacks and chocolates. Simultaneously, HORECA sector (hospitality, restaurant and catering) demand plummeted due to lockdowns measures, while online grocery shopping showed a significant increase.

Owing to the uncertainty over the progression of the pandemic, it is difficult to predict market behavior. However, as international borders are gradually reopening and lockdown measures globally de-escalating, market disruptions caused by COVID-19 appear to be stabilizing and consumer demand is expected to normalize during the next several months. 

Greece is a country where new fruits are constantly being planted with shells, such as shelled peanuts, almonds, hazelnuts, walnuts, etc. Would you like to analyze the data that prevails internationally in relation to the cultivation of nuts and which countries do you think are entering the industry dynamically in recent years? Also, in which countries are there the most aged shell fruit crops?

World tree nut production reached over 4.6 million metric tons in 2019/20 (weight in grain basis, except for pistachios that include the shell). Almonds and walnuts are currently the most produced crops, accounting for 31% and 20% of the world share respectively, followed by cashews (18%), pistachios (14%) and hazelnuts (12%). The remaining 5% is distributed among pecans, macadamias, Brazil nuts and pine nuts.

Historically, the USA (California) has been the leading tree nut producing origin and keeps leading the world production, amounting to 39% of the global share in 2019/20. Almonds (62% of the country share), pistachios (19%) and walnuts (14%) are the most produced crops in the US. Turkey is the second top world tree nut producer and currently accounts for 11% of the world tree nut crops. Hazelnuts add up to 79% of Turkish tree nut production, followed by pistachios (15%). The third biggest producing country is China, which added up to 10% of the world share, with walnuts amounting to 96% of the country’s tree nut production. Regarding emerging origins, over the last decade, due to the sustained increment in walnut planted areas and production and, more recently, the expansion of hazelnut cultivation, Chile tree nut production was raised almost 4 times from 2010. Similarly, South Africa stood out for its growing macadamia and pecan hectarage and crops, reaching a total tree nut production 2.8 times bigger than 10 years ago. China’s production has also significantly grown during the last 10 years (164% up from 2010) owing to raised walnut and macadamia crops. However, Chinese production is still far from meeting the domestic demand, which is still covered by imports.

World tree nut production reached over 4.6 million metric tons in 2019/20

Do you think climate change has affected the nut industry and if so, how?

It would be very difficult to assess the direct impact that climate change might have had on the nut industry, both qualitatively and quantitatively. Nonetheless, globally, the industry has been taking steps towards a sustainable production throughout the whole supply chain. 

Although there are big differences among producing origins in terms of sustainability, overall environmental awareness has increased dramatically over the past two decades among all the players in the industry. Farmers have become more aware of the positive impact sustainable management practices – such as integrated pest management or localized irrigation systems– can have both on the environment and the crops. In general, water use efficiency is being improved through more efficient irrigation systems such as drip or sprinkler irrigation.

Many renewable energies forms are already part of the nut production systems: for instance, solar power systems (photovoltaic panels) are being implemented in farms and production facilities all over the producing countries. Nut shells are also being used as biomass fuel for power generation, which is, in turn, used to dry nuts. Besides, by-products (e.g. shells and husks) are being repurposed as livestock bedding and feed, mulching or used in industrial material generation, reducing in this way, waste and indirectly, CO2 emissions.

What are the new consumer trends internationally in terms of nuts and how they affect the process of fruit production. What varieties do farmers prefer with almonds, hazelnuts and shells?

There are several trends that have been consolidating in recent years in the nut market which are closely linked to the public general awareness of the importance of a healthy diet and a sustainable and environmentally friendly production system. 

There is abundant scientific evidence that demonstrates the benefits of consuming nuts on cardiovascular health, type 2 diabetes mellitus, cognitive function or cognitive decline, intestinal microbiota, and more recently, on body weight and various parameters that contribute positively to male fertility, among others.

As previously stated, regarding sustainable production, the nut industry ha already implemented different measures aimed at a circular economy and the reduction of environmental impact.

As for consumer demand, some of the main trends identified in recent times are listed below:

  • Increasing demand for healthy snacking options.
  • Consumer interest in sustainable production, packaging and logistics systems.
  • Consumer interest in knowing about the ingredients and nutritional properties of the products they consume, known as “Clean Label”. The new consumer opts for formulations with more natural ingredients and without additives.
  • Upward trend of “ethical consumption”, consumers demand sustainable production conditions from the environmental and human resources point of view (e.g. fair trade, organic production certifications, local and seasonal products).
  • Increase in the percentage of the population (especially in Europe) who follow whole food/flexi-vegetarian/vegetarian/vegan diets or those related to food intolerances (gluten-free or lactose-free foods, for example). In these types of diets, nuts, whether as snacks, ingredients or in the form of spreads and drinks, provide plant-based protein, vitamins, minerals and fiber.
  • Willingness of consumers to explore new flavors and textures, which represents a great expansion opportunity for mature markets.

Regarding commercial cultivars or variety choices, they vary a lot depending on the producing origin. The variety choice is complex and multifactorial depending on:

  • Producing country tradition and culture
  • Agronomical features: nutrient and water use, plagues and diseases resistance, phenology, kernel yield, etc.
  • Domestic and international market circumstances and profitability
  • Grants and government aid programs to encourage cultivation.

Breeding programs to release new improved and adapted varieties are continuously being carried out in the main production origins Research Centers and Universities.

Is there a shortage of nuts on the market, such as peanuts, cashews, etc.?

Internationally, the most recent data published by INC revealed that the supply of tree nuts increased significantly over the last decade. World production of nuts (almonds, cashews, hazelnuts, macadamias, walnuts, Brazil nuts, pecans, pine nuts, and pistachios) has grown at a sustained rate over the past 10 years, reaching a record high of 4.6 million metric tons in 2019/2020 (weight in grain basis, except for pistachios that include the shell) and it is expected to follow this growing trend in the next years. As for demand, tree nut global consumption has also increased over the past 10 years. However, considering the also growing world population, consumption is still significantly far apart from the recommended intake of 30 g (a handful or 1 oz) of nuts a day per capita, which is a good indicator of the need to reinforce the industry marketing and promotional efforts in the years to come. In anticipation to this increase in availability, the industry has responded in an innovative way through the launch of new products, from snacks, breakfast cereals and bars to spreads, drinks, desserts, oils, etc. The organic and e-commerce sector also continues to expand in the nut industry.

11/06/2020 04:53 pm

The Alltech ONE Virtual Experience launched in May with more than 21,500 registrants from 117 countries, uniting for a unique exploration of the future of agriculture, business and the world around us the Alltech ONE Virtual Experience is the transformation of Alltech’s flagship event, ONE: The Alltech Ideas Conference (ONE), which typically attracts more than 3,500 attendees from more than 70 countries to Lexington, Kentucky, USA, each May. 

Greece and Cyprus reached the 100 registrants already and they now have access to the  virtual experience, which provides on-demand focus sessions, streaming keynote presentations and live Q&A chats with select speakers. Attendees have the opportunity to exchange innovative ideas and find inspiration in way that is accessible to everyone from anywhere. 

“Welcome to the new ONE,” said Dr. Mark Lyons, president and CEO of Alltech, in his opening remarks. “This is a journey of discovery and renewal. For the first time in the 36-year history of our conference, we are connecting virtually. This is an opportunity to shape the future of agri-food — together.”

Discussion topics include:

Mark Lyons: Dr. Mark Lyons: Unifying for a Planet of Plenty™
Jack Bobo: How to improve the future of food and agriculture – Jack Bobo
David McWilliams: 3 things history teaches us about our economic future

On-demand session topics are also available and explore challenges and opportunities in agribusiness, aquaculture, beef, crop science, dairy, pig, poultry and sustainable agriculture. In case you are interested to register and be a part of this unique experience please feel free to get in touch with the local Alltech office for more information or visit ONE.ALLTECH.COM

About Alltech:

Founded in 1980 by Irish entrepreneur and scientist Dr. Pearse Lyons, Alltech delivers smarter, more sustainable solutions for agriculture. Our products improve the health and performance of plants and animals, resulting in better nutrition for consumers and a decreased environmental impact. We are a global leader in the animal health industry, producing additives, premix, self-fed supplements and feed. Celebrating 40 years in 2020, we carry forward a legacy of innovation and a unique culture that views challenges through an entrepreneurial lens.  

Our more than 5,000 talented team members worldwide share our vision for a Planet of Plenty™. We believe agriculture has the greatest potential to shape the future of our planet, but it will take all of us working together, led by science, technology and a shared will to make a difference. 

Alltech is a private, family-owned company, which allows us to adapt quickly to our customers’ needs and maintain focus on advanced innovation. Headquartered just outside of Lexington, Kentucky, USA, Alltech has a strong presence in all regions of the world. For more information, visit alltech.com, or join the conversation on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn

05/06/2020 01:35 pm

Margrethe Vestager (born 13 April 1968) is a Danish social liberal politician serving in the Von der Leyen Commission as Executive Vice President of the European Commission for A Europe Fit for the Digital Age since 1 December 2019 and European Commissioner for Competition since 2014. Agrotypos had the opportunity to interview Margarethe Vestager about Commission's support to the agri-food sector, after the COVID-19 epidemic.

Is there a separate EU fund that supports the agricultural sector after the coronavirus epidemic? What is the total amount to be allocated for this purpose?

For the time being, such a Fund does not exist. However, the EU has been supporting the agricultural sector through the Common Agricultural Policy Funds but also through the ESIF Funds, to the extent that undertakings in the agricultural sector meet the eligibility criteria for the measures concerned.

Give us a picture of the COVID-19 aid schemes in the EU countries.

So far, aid schemes focusing on mitigating the consequences of the coronavirus outbreak in the agricultural and fisheries sector have been approved in Portugal, Lithuania, Poland, Belgium, Finland, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Latvia and the Netherlands. A number of other Member States have approved schemes which are not specific to agriculture but open to all sectors, including agriculture (Greece also has one).
 
As regards the sectors, the schemes are usually generic, i.e. specifying only one or several of: primary agricultural production, food industry, forestry, fishery and aquaculture. The only exceptions are the Greek floriculture scheme and the Dutch floriculture, horticulture and potato scheme.

When will the aid funds be credited to the Member States?

As far as the measures approved under the Temporary Framework are concerned, it should be noted that some of them are exclusively financed by the respective member State’s budget while others are co-financed by EU Funds. Subject to a the adoption of a non-objection decision by the Commission, it is up to the Member States to decide on the freeing up of the national funds for the measures financed by the national budget, whereas for the EU co-financed the usual procedures that apply need to be met.

For more information:

Coronavirus: Commission adopts package of measures to further support the agri-food sector

The Commission published the latest package of exceptional measures to further support the agricultural and food sectors most affected by the coronavirus crisis.

The exceptional measures (announced on 22 April) include private storage aid for the dairy and meat sectors, the temporary authorisation to self-organise market measures by operators in hard hit sectors, and flexibility in the implementation of market support programmes. On top of these market measures, the Commission proposed to allow Member States to use rural development funds to compensate farmers and small agri-food businesses with amounts of up to €5,000 and €50,000, respectively.

Agriculture and Rural Development Commissioner Janusz Wojciechowski said:

“We have acted swiftly to have all necessary measures available as quickly as possible to support farmers and those in need. Some agricultural and food markets have been hit hard by the crisis. However, I am now confident that the adoption of these measures will provide tangible support, send the right signal to markets, and soon provide some stability. This package and the previous support measures show that the Commission is ready and will act as the situation demands it. We will continue monitoring the situation in close contact with stakeholders, the European Parliament and Member States.”

The exceptional market measures proposed on 22 April and now fully adopted and published include:

  • Private storage aid: the Commission will support private storage aid for dairy (skimmed milk powder, butter, cheese) and meat (beef, sheep and goat meat) products. This measure allows the temporary withdrawal of products from the market for a minimum of 2 to 3 months, and a maximum period of 5 to 6 months. Applications to participate in the scheme will open from 7 May 2020. This measure aims to stabilise the market by temporarily reducing available supply.
  • Flexibility for market support programmes:  the Commission will allow flexibility in the implementation of market support programmes for wine, fruits and vegetables, table olives and olive oil, apiculture and the EU's school scheme (covering milk, fruit and vegetables). This flexibility aims to limit available supply in each sector to lead to a rebalancing of markets. In addition, it will allow the reorientation of funding priorities towards crisis management measures.
  • Temporary derogation from EU competition rules: Article 222 of the Common Markets Organisation Regulation (CMO) allows the Commission to adopt temporary derogations from certain EU competition rules in situations of severe market imbalances. The Commission adopted such derogations for the milk, flowers and potatoes sectors. These derogations allow operators to self-organise and implement market measures at their level to stabilise their sector and in the respect of the functioning of the internal market for a maximum period of 6 months. For example, the milk sector will be allowed to collectively plan milk production and the flower and potatoes sector will be allowed to withdraw products from the market. Storage by private operators will also be allowed. Consumer price movements and any possible partitioning of the internal market will be monitored closely to avoid adverse effects.

In addition to the above, the Commission proposes that Member States with remaining rural development funds can use this money to provide support to farmers and small agri-food businesses in 2020. This should provide immediate relief to those most impacted by the crisis. Member States can offer support of up to €5,000 per farmer and €50,000 per small business. This comes on top of the de-minimis aid for the agricultural sector and the increased state aid ceiling previously adopted. This proposal needs to be submitted to the Council and the Parliament for approval.

These measures follow a wide-ranging package of measures adopted earlier on by the Commission. These measures provided support to the agri-food sector in these challenging times with increased amounts for state aid, higher advanced payments, and extended deadlines to submit payment requests. The increased flexibility regarding Common Agricultural Policy rules aims to alleviate the administrative burden on farmers and national administrations.

04/06/2020 01:41 pm

The Lettuce Open Field day that held in Greece was the first sign of the "new normality", following the Coronavirus epidemic quarantine period.
This was an excellent opportunity to introduce lettuce growers to the new varieties by Hazera and launch the new collaboration between 2 sister companies, Hazera and Vilmorin-Mikado, under the slogan "Together is Better".

Together is Better

Since last October, Hazera Hellas has served as the representative in Greece of Vilmorin-Mikado, offering its vegetable crops products, including a wide range of leafy varieties.
Vilmorin-Mikado is a global leader in lettuces and the strategic cooperation with Hazera Hellas in Greece is an opportunity for growers, plant raisers and fresh fruit traders to evaluate the new products of both companies and share the current trends in the Greek and European market.
For Hazera, this collaboration has placed the company in a leading position in the leafy vegetable industry in Greece, with an extensive range of lettuce varieties in all the segments: Iceberg Romaine, Batavia, Oakleaf.
Dozens of local growers visited the field, enjoyed the good weather and received valuable practical know-how for their work.

03/06/2020 11:24 am

Full tie-up comes after more than 30 successful years of partnership and growth, serving Greek farmers
TEL AVIV, ISRAEL and ATHENS, GREECE, May28, 2020 - ADAMA Ltd. (“ADAMA”) (SZSE 000553), today announced it will acquire the remaining 51% stake in Alfa Agricultural Supplies, S.A. (“Alfa”), a leading Greek provider of crop protection and other agriculture-related inputs. Alfa, founded in 1983 by Mr. Vasileios Paisios, has grown to become one of the leading providers of crop protection, fertilizers and seeds to Greek farmers. Alfa has served as ADAMA’s representative in Greece for more than 30 years, and the companies have been strategic partners in the country since ADAMA’s acquisition of a 49% stake in Alfa in 1993. ADAMA and Mr. Paisios have entered into a series of agreements in terms of which ADAMA will acquire the remaining 51% stake that it does not already own in Alfa, while Alfa will divest its formulation and logistics operations to a new entity owned by the Paisios family. As a result, ADAMA will own 100% of Alfa’s commercial business including its wholly owned subsidiary Agribul in Bulgaria, providing ADAMA’s crop protection and other agriculture-related inputs to local farmers.

ADAMA will acquire the remaining 51% stake that it does not already own in Alfa

Bertrand Lombard, ADAMA’s VP of Southern Europe, said: “After many successful years as ADAMA’s partner, this transaction will finally bring Alfa fully into the ADAMA fold. With the support of Alfa’s highly skilled team, ADAMA will further bolster its position and offering in this key market by driving the continued development of its value-added product portfolio, deepening Alfa’s already strong relationships with local ag-input distributors, retailers and farmers, aiming at meeting the growing needs of farmers in Greece”.

Vasileios Paisios, Alfa’s Chairman and CEO, added: “I am proud of our accomplishments over the decades, thanks to our talented team and our many years of collaboration with ADAMA. ADAMA’s global reach and broad product offering, combined with our team’s strong local expertise are a recipe for continued growth in this region. I see this as the next logical step in the development of the company to advance and progress in the dynamic Greek crop protection market”.

The transaction is expected to be completed within the coming weeks following the completion of customary closing procedures.

About ADAMA

ADAMA Ltd. is a global leader in crop protection, providing solutions to farmers across the world to combat weeds, insects and disease. ADAMA has one of the widest and most diverse portfolios of active ingredients in the world, state-of-the art R&D, manufacturing and formulation facilities, together with a culture that empowers our people in markets around the world to listen to farmers and ideate from the field. This uniquely positions ADAMA to offer a vast array of distinctive mixtures, formulations and high-quality differentiated products, delivering solutions that meet local farmer and customer needs in over 100 countries globally. For more information, visit us at www.ADAMA.com and follow us on Twitter®at @ADAMAAgri.

About ALFA

Alfa Agricultural Supplies S.A. was founded in 1983 by Mr. Vasileios Paisios, and has grown to become one of Greece’s leading providers of agricultural inputs. With a team of 85 employees, including 36 agronomists spread throughout Greece, the company offers a comprehensive product portfolio focused on the provision of high quality solutions and advice to the Greek farmer. Alfa’s products (crop protection, seeds and fertilizers) provide solutions to most of crops in Greece. For more information, see www.alfagro.gr

25/05/2020 11:29 am

A new Syngenta tomato demonstration centre is set to change the way tomato varieties are bred and to fulfil new market demands in the future.

  • New modern glasshouse to ensure a faster introduction of new high-quality varieties
  • Investment to strengthen Syngenta’s position as a leader in a dynamic market
  • Virtual opening: visitors to experience the journey remotely

Creating the tomatoes of the future

Just one year after its building was announced, the new R&D and marketing facility called Tomato Vision opened this week in Maasland, the Netherlands. The centre includes 14.000 m2 of high-tech glasshouse where 800 unique new hybrids are tested and selected for specific market needs, using ultra-modern and traditional breeding technologies. The greenhouse has been designed to mimic real conditions at the growers, featuring different sections for lit and unlit cultivation with ultimate climate control. An area of 1.500 m2 is open to visitors to offer them a unique first insight into upcoming introductions along with a deeper understanding of Syngenta’s whole active glasshouse portfolio. Tomato Vision is also a platform to engage and connect with customers to identify their needs. Ruud Kaagman, Global Tomato Crop Unit Head at Syngenta says: “We want to develop varieties that truly meet growers’ and customers’ demands. By creating this connection between our breeders and the market, we are able to deliver fine-tuned varieties.”

Grabbing the digital opportunity

As the Covid-19 pandemic has recently highlighted how digital communications can overcome physical constraints, Tomato Vision will have an online inaugural opening. “This wonderful achievement will reach our customers and partners around the world. Of course, we would like to welcome our visitors physically as soon as possible, but for now we can bring you Tomato Vision at your desk, wherever this is!”, says Ruud Kaagman.
Hygiene and biosecurity conditions already challenged the access to glasshouses and the current context makes every meeting in person difficult. By using modern digital communication tools and virtual reality technology, we want to interact with our visitors and provide them a worthwhile experience at Tomato Vision, making this centre a truly global resource.

Experiencing tomatoes from concept variety to plate

Syngenta’s tomato portfolio is highly diverse as the result of more than 20 breeding programs around the world. We offer performant varieties in all different segments for active and passive glasshousing. Tomato Vision invites the visitor to an immersive journey from concept varieties to delicious tomatoes on our menu, making our portfolio and breeding programs more comprehensible and allowing growers and value chain partners to exchange knowledge, ideas and expectations. This will influence future developments in tomato breeding, encourage cooperation and collaboration between parties and ultimately improve the tomato business for everyone.

About Syngenta

Syngenta is a leading agriculture company helping to improve global food security by enabling millions of farmers to make better use of available resources. Through world class science and innovative crop solutions, our 28,000 employees in over 90 countries are working to transform how crops are grown. We are committed to rescuing land from degradation, enhancing biodiversity and revitalizing rural communities. To learn more, visit www.syngenta.com and www.goodgrowthplan.com

11/05/2020 12:58 pm

Globalization of our world over the past several decades has driven a huge increase in the global movement of biological material, providing numerous opportunities for the spread of diseases in a relatively short time.
Infectious plant diseases can cause minor damage, while others may cause a huge epidemic capable of destroying an entire crop. In the case of plant viruses, there is no cure for the infected plant, since plants lack a real immune system of the type animals and humans have. Therefore, the most efficient solution to combat the problem is to prevent plants from being infected by applying preventive hygiene measures.
Sounds familiar?! Now, in 2020, most people comprehend this logic as the world faces a critical and challenging period due to the COVID-19 human virus pandemic. As the virus spreads throughout the world, it is affecting and changing our routine life.
Hazera, as a seed company, is heavily invested in research and in the development and production of high-quality varieties. We have acquired knowledge and practices in fighting pests and viruses that may threaten the yields and the quality of our varieties - our products.
In this fight against viruses, it is key to understand that every pathogen has a disease cycle, which is the way the virus infects, reproduces and spreads. This can also be called the epidemiologic triangle.

Epidemiological Triangle: a disease caused by a virus agent is based on a pathogen (virus), a host to infect and the environment providing the conditions to propagate in the host. The virus needs a transportation vector to contaminate new hosts. One of the central disease management strategies is to interrupt the disease cycle. Since our capabilities in managing the environment are limited, we should interfere and break the cycle by taking preventive measures and restricting the spread of the disease.

Knowing your pest, reliable and professional detection methods, good methodology for sampling and monitoring the population and early detection in case of a disease outbreak are important and practical key points in controlled disease management.
This is not the first time that humanity has encountered a devastating pandemic. However, in the past, such outbreaks of disease were generally local or regional epidemics due to limited global transportation and movement of population.

What is a virus?

Virulent, from the Latin virulentus "poisonous", dates back to 1400, and means an "agent that causes an infectious disease". Its first recorded use as an explanation for illness was in 1728, more than 150 years before the discovery of viruses by Dimitrii Ivanovsky in 1892.
Viruses are Obligate intracellular parasites.
Viruses lack the cellular machinery needed for self-reproduction.
Viruses can only replicate by controlling the bio-synthetic machinery of the host cells.

How can implementing a quarantine contribute to stopping the spread of the virus?

Quarantine – a procedure developed during the 14th century to protect coastal cities from disease epidemics. Ships arriving in Venice from infected ports were required to moor in the harbor for 40 days (quaranta giorni) before disembarking, a practice known as quarantine.
Currently, we are all learning the importance of quarantine safety measures and can now appreciate the significant social impact of quarantine restrictions on suspected virus carriers.
The strategy used in the case of plant viruses is very similar. But quarantine in itself is insufficient to fight and defeat epidemics. Avoidance or prevention are the best strategy for plant viruses and are efficient for specific human populations (high risk groups) in the case of human viruses. It is better and more cost effective to make every effort to prevent the virus from entering our fields or greenhouses, in the case of plant viruses, or into countries or communities in the case of human viruses. This can be achieved by three important elements known as MDM.
Measures – use of disinfectants, gloves, coats, masks, coveralls and additional protective means
Discipline – everyone must follow the guidelines and instructions strictly and precisely
Management – the process is led by professionals backed by the full commitment of the top administrative level

Asymptomatic Carrier as a risk factor

The infection by both plant and human viruses can develop and be expressed in the population in various ways.
First, some of the infected plants may express typical, well- known symptoms while others may not express symptoms – because it is still in the early stage of infection or if the reaction is mild, they may even be asymptomatic.
The phenomenon is often called "The Iceberg effect".
These kinds of "undiscovered" infected cases can be sources of contamination for the healthy population and may lead to the acceleration of the epidemic.

As a matter of fact, all the measures implemented in the fight against COVID-19 are very similar to those used against plant viruses, except for the use of masks, since plants do not inhale air into lungs. Contact, survival of the virus on surfaces, clothing and tools - even smartphones - apply in both cases.
Discipline is mandatory and critical to the success of the strategy, along with applying restrictions and hygiene measures. Even one person who does not comply with the restrictions is enough to cause an outbreak and secondary spread of a disease - in both plants and human viruses.
Take care!
In disease management, prevention is the most efficient strategy

Written by: Dr. David Levy, Plant Pathologist, Hazera

HAZERA: VEGETABLE BREEDING AND VEGETABLE SEEDS

Hazera is a global leader in the seed industry. Hazera brings expertise, commitment and support, combining decades of experience with state-of-the-art technology. Hazera breeds, develops, produces and markets varieties and seeds in a wide range of vegetable crops around the world.
Hazera’s headquarters are situated in Israel and The Netherlands, with subsidiaries in 11 countries and an extensive distribution network providing services in over 100 additional markets. This worldwide presence enables us to be close to our customers. It allows us to offer technical support and to anticipate and respond to local needs by creating varieties that fit specific climates, growing conditions and market requirements.
Hazera is part of the Limagrain Group, an international agri-business based in France. Being a farmers’ cooperative, the Limagrain Group understands the needs of its customers and has grown to become the largest seed company in Europe, specialising in vegetables, field crops and cereal products. Limagrain’s vegetable seed division is the second largest company in the industry.

17/03/2020 02:31 pm

Following an initial request from the Italian authorities facing an unprecedented crisis in relation to the COVID-19 outbreak and the overall difficult situation faced by the European Union, the European Commission has decided to allow Member States to offer an extension of one month for the deadline for farmers to submit their applications for direct payments and certain payments under rural development. The extension will be possible for all eligible farmers in all Member States. It is however up to the Member States to decide whether to use the extension.

In order to extend the deadline by one month, the Commission is currently preparing the legal steps to be taken to allow a derogation from current rules.

The new deadline for applications will now be 15 June 2020, instead of 15 May, allowing more flexibility for farmers to fill in their applications in these difficult and unparalleled times.

Every year, European farmers file their applications to receive CAP income support. National authorities then process the applications and ensure necessary checks. CAP payments are then distributed at national or regional level, which is reimbursed by the European Commission through the EU’s budget.

The European Commission is working on all fronts to support Member States facing the COVID-19 outbreak.

27/02/2020 12:03 pm

The private storage aid scheme for olive oil adopted in November 2019 was concluded today, with the last tendering procedure supported by Member States. Overall, the scheme covered a total volume of 213,500 tonnes of olive oil, representing about 27% of total EU stocks at the beginning of the marketing year 2019/20.

The fourth and last tendering procedure concluded on a maximum aid of €0.83 per day per tonne for extra virgin, virgin and lampante olive oil for a volume of 41,600 tonnes, to be stored during at least 180 days.

Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development Janusz Wojciechowski said:

The European Commission has shown once again its commitment and support to European farmers, especially when faced with market disruption.

"After months of market imbalance, I’m proud to see the last tendering under the private storage aid scheme for olive oil conclude on a positive note. It is too early to see the full impact of the support measure, but first signs of price recovery are already visible. The European Commission has shown once again its commitment and support to European farmers, especially when faced with market disruption."

Following important stocks at EU level as well as consecutive good harvests, creating an imbalance between supply and demand and a price decrease, the European Commission approved a private storage aid scheme aimed at stabilising the market and increasing prices. The scheme operated through four tendering procedures, with the first one in November 2019 and the last one concluded today.

Overall, most offers came from Spain, where the market is particularly under pressure and stocks are exceptionally high. The third tender was the most successful, when a majority of the total stock entered the scheme.

Despite early signs of improvement, it will take more time for the full impact on EU olive oil prices to become visible. The Commission will remain vigilant and continue to monitor closely market developments in the olive oil sector.

Background

The European Union is the leading producer, consumer and exporter of olive oil. Since 2013, on average the EU has produced 68.4%, consumed 54.2% and exported 66.9% of the world’s olive oil. Spain is the most important olive oil producer of the Union, followed by Italy, Greece and Portugal.

Over the last months, the EU olive oil market has suffered from very low prices due to an excess in supply following harvest 2018/19 and exceptionally high stocks at EU level estimated at 783,600 tonnes for 2018/19 (84% of which in Spain).

20/02/2020 11:56 am

In western Greece (Trifylia and Elis), farmers are busy planting out watermelons as fast as they can. Producers are aiming for an early crop so that they can secure a good price. However, there is a risk that large quantities of watermelons will flood the market and put “pressure" on producer prices.

Of course, it is EU consumers who play the key role in setting the prices. High temperatures in Europe will lead to high demand for watermelons and the prices producers receive will progress nicely.

In general, watermelon fields in western Greece are able to produce around 60-70 tonnes per Hectare, and over 800 Hectares in the region are dedicated to growing watermelons. Approximately 600 of these are in Trifylia with the remainder being in Elis.

As the Head of the Trifylia Agricultural Development and Veterinary Directorate (DAOK), Antonis Paraskevopoulos stated in AgroTypos, "So far, about 50% of the crop has been planted thanks to good weather and sound preparation. In this area, we have about 600 Hectares under cultivation this year with early watermelons (round and “barrel”) which are mainly destined for export. So far, the weather has been favorable and the plants have grown well. Also, phosphorus has been added as necessary. If planting continues at this rate, we will begin to take the covers off the plants from early April. Producers should be careful and do all the work needed as soon as possible so they avoid any problems with plant growth."

When AgroTypos asked him how he expects trade to be this year, the Head of the Agricultural Development and Veterinary Directorate Trifylia told us, "We cannot make any estimates for price as yet. What we can say is that it will depend on the weather conditions at the time of harvest, both in Greek markets and external markets."

It is worth remembering that last year (2019) was a special year for early watermelons. From late May, when harvesting watermelons in the region began, there was a high demand for the product and producer prices were at a good average level of 40 euro cents per kilo. But early in June, demand suddenly decreased because a large number of watermelons came on the market internationally and this resulted in prices falling to a low level. However, another serious problem leading to the fall in price is the lack of a means of transport, which results in our exports being delayed.  At the moment, Greece does not import many products due to the economic crisis, and this means that loads cannot leave quickly for foreign markets.

Mr. Charalambos Papadopoulos, a producer from Kyparissia, told AgroTypos that “Last year, watermelons from Elis and Trifylia came to market at almost the same time, which put pressure on producer prices. Something similar is predicted to happen this year, as producers in Elis planted their crops out early. I think that this year, we would expect to see the first watermelons on the market from around the 15th to the 20th May. We are hoping that there will be hot weather in our consumer markets and high demand as this would mean we would get good producer prices."

From his point of view, Mr. Athanasios Zafirakis from “Zafirakis Fruits”, near Amaliada, Elis told AgroTypos that, "Producers are rushing to plant out because they want an early crop so they can get good prices. This year the weather conditions have helped and people have been able to plant watermelons earlier. If all goes well, I think greenhouse watermelons should hit the market around 15 May and outdoor-grown watermelons from the Elis area should be on the market on 25 May . What everyone is hoping for is that there will be high temperatures in European consumer markets around that time. We will know more about how the crop is going (yield, size etc.) around Easter."

17/02/2020 05:22 pm

The European Commission today announced an investment of €101.2 million for the latest projects under the LIFE programme for the Environment and Climate Action. The funding will support 10 large-scale environment and climate projects in nine Member States, helping Europe's transition to a sustainable economy and climate neutrality. These projects are located in Cyprus, Estonia, France, Greece, Ireland, Latvia, Slovakia, Czechia and Spain.

Frans Timmermans
Frans Timmermans

Executive Vice-President of the European Commission Frans Timmermans said: “The  European Green Deal is about improving the well-being and prosperity of our citizens, while protecting nature and the climate. LIFE projects have played an important role for many years and have a big impact on the ground. With today's €100 million investment we will help to preserve precious natural habitats, keep the air clean, and cut pollution in many lakes and rivers in Europe.”

Virginijus Sinkevičius
Virginijus Sinkevičius

Commissioner for the Environment, Oceans and Fisheries Virginijus Sinkevičius said: “LIFE integrated projects enable Member States' authorities to make a real difference to the environment and people's lives. The projects will help Member States to conserve nature, improve air and water quality, and make the economy greener. This will improve our resilience to the changing climate.”

Integrated projects improve citizens' quality of life by helping Member States comply with EU legislation in six areas: nature, water, air, waste, climate change mitigation and climate change adaptation. They support implementation of environmental and climate legislation in a coordinated manner and on a large territorial scale, leveraging funding from other EU sources, national and regional actors and private investors.

The LIFE investment is set to mobilise over €6.5 billion of complementary funds, as Member States can also make use of other EU funding sources, including agricultural, regional and structural funds, Horizon 2020, as well as national funds and private sector investment.

The large-scale projects will support the European Green Deal and the EU's ambition of becoming the world's first climate-neutral continent by 2050. They will help to restore and conserve ecosystems and species we all depend on, move towards a circular economy, improve air and water quality, boost sustainable finance and increase climate resilience in Europe.

Impact on the ground

  •     Nature conservation: Integrated projects in Estonia, Ireland and Cyprus will help to conserve Europe's nature and improve the management of the EU Natura 2000 network of protected areas. Many important habitats and species will benefit, from forests, farmlands, grasslands, coastal areas and peatlands to pollinators. These habitats also serve as valuable carbon sinks.
  •     Waste management: A project in Greece will promote waste prevention and re-use, reducing the amount of municipal waste going to landfill. New waste indicators and standards will be developed to help build the circular economy.
  •     Air quality: LIFE funding will assist Slovakia in complying with EU directives on air quality, reducing the population's exposure to harmful air pollutants. Neighbouring Czechia, affected by similar air quality problems, will also benefit.
  •     Water: Integrated projects working at river basin-scale will protect and improve water quality in Ireland and Latvia's rivers and lakes, enabling the countries to meet their obligations under the EU Water Framework Directive.
  •     Climate change adaptation: LIFE funding will also support increased resilience to climate change. Projects will integrate climate change adaptation into planning and other policy areas in Spain as well as building adaptation capacity in France using nature-based solutions.

Sustainable finance: Also in France, an integrated project will help bridge significant knowledge gaps in this area and bring green financial products into the mainstream.

Descriptions of all 10 projects can be found here.

Background

The LIFE programme is the EU's funding instrument for the environment and climate action. It has been running since 1992 and has co-financed more than 5,400 projects across the EU and in third countries. At any given moment some 1,100 projects are in progress. The budget for 2014-2020 is set at €3.4 billion in current prices. LIFE integrated projects were introduced in 2014 to help Member States comply with key EU environmental, nature and climate legislation. For the next long-term EU budget for 2021-2027, the Commission is proposing to increase funding by almost 60% for LIFE.

12/02/2020 01:45 pm

Dr. Bob Reiter, Global Head of Research and Development for the Crop Science division of Bayer, talks about Bayer's biologicals, during the 2019 press conference in Monheim when Agrotypos had the opportunity to meet him.

Bayer in Biologicals

To meet the needs of farmers and to contribute to global food supplies, Bayer has been investing since over a decade in the development of high-quality biologicals with proven efficacy and scientifically demonstrated modes of action. These innovative products are used as part of integrated disease - and pest - management systems to help ensure healthy harvests. A wide range of tailored agronomic solutions ensures farmers can help maintain biodiversity by employing a diversity of solutions in their fields. This also helps farmers to ensure environmental sustainability and to meet market demands in an economically sustainable manner.

07/02/2020 06:40 pm

This year's FRUIT LOGISTICA Innovation Award (FLIA) goes to the tomato "Yoom™" from the company Syngenta Seeds. With around 30 per cent of the votes, it is the clear winner in the competition to determine the best innovation in the international fruit and vegetable industry. Visitors to FRUIT LOGISTICA had two days to vote on the award.

The Dutch company Syngenta won the FLIA before in 2012, for its red snack pepper "Angello". The Yoom tomato won voters over with its outer and inner values: depending on the hours of sunlight, its colour ranges from purple to black. What remains constant is its high vitamin, mineral and antioxidant content as well as its sweet-sour and tangy flavour, also known as "umami".

"We are very pleased to have won this award again, because FRUIT LOGISTICA is the most important convention for the fresh fruit industry. In five minutes the world will know more about our product, because everyone follows the information from FRUIT LOGISTICA. This will be a major boost for our product. And the award is a great acknowledgment of our work as well as a wonderful motivation for our team," says Jérémie Chabanis, EAME Food Chain Manager Vegetable and Specialties at Syngenta.

The silver FLIA goes to Polish company Silbo for its certified fruit and vegetable packaging with water-based dyes and adhesives ("Compostable, Flexible, Printed, Packaging"). It is completely compostable, making it especially sustainable.

The bronze FLIA was also awarded to sustainable packaging: the "SoFruMiniPak® Eco View" from SoFruPak Witold Gai from Poland. It seals quickly, is made from renewable resources, ensures good ventilation and optimised cooling, and is 100 per cent biodegradable.

FRUIT LOGISTICA is the leading technical convention for the global fruit trade, and has been held every year since 1993. In 2020, 3,300 exhibitors from 93 countries presented their products, services and technical solutions in Berlin. The FRUIT LOGISTICA Innovation Award was presented for the fifteenth time this year. It is the most important award in the industry.

31/01/2020 04:50 pm

«Decision of EPA corresponds to the long-standing assessments of leading international health authorities», says Liam Condon.

Bayer said today that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's favorable conclusion about the safety of glyphosate in its Interim Registration Review Decision, based on the agency's expert review over a 10-year period, reaffirms that the extensive body of science continues to support the safety of herbicides containing glyphosate and that this active ingredient is not carcinogenic.

In its Interim Registration Review Decision (click here), EPA concluded that it «did not identify any human health risks from exposure to glyphosate». «EPA's latest decision on glyphosate-based herbicides adds to the long-term evaluation of leading international health authorities that these products can be used safely, and that glyphosate is not carcinogenic», said Liam Condon, member of the Board of Management of Bayer AG and President Crop Science Division. «Glyphosate-based herbicides are one of the most thoroughly studied products of their kind, which is a major reason why farmers around the world continue to rely on these products not only for effective weed control, but also to minimize tillage farming practices, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, preserve more land for native habitats, and provide enough food to meet the needs of a growing population worldwide. EPA's science-based, in-depth assessment by its expert team reflects a gold standard for scientific rigor that is respected by regulators and scientists across the globe».

The EPA had already confirmed its position on glyphosate earlier this year. Together with the U.S. Department of Justice, on behalf of the U.S. government, EPA filed an amicus brief in the Roundup Litigation in the Hardeman appeal. In this brief both authorities are supportive of the company's arguments. In August 2019 the EPA sent a letter to glyphosate registrants, which stated respectively that a cancer warning on products containing this active ingredient would be «inconsistent with the agency's scientific assessment of the carcinogenic potential of the product» and would be a «false and misleading statement».

The EPA also said in its Interim Registration Review Decision that «it used the most current science policies and risk assessment methodologies to prepare a risk assessment in support of the registration review of glyphosate. The EPA thoroughly assessed risks to humans from exposure to glyphosate from all registered uses and all routes of exposure and did not identify any risks of concern».

EPA also reiterated its conclusion that «glyphosate is not likely to be carcinogenic to humans», its most favorable rating

Glyphosate-based products are the most widely used herbicides in the world, and today's EPA announcement is just the latest instance of a regulatory agency reaffirming that glyphosate is not carcinogenic. Since IARC's assessment in 2015, regulatory and scientific bodies that have reaffirmed their conclusions about the safety of glyphosate-based products and that glyphosate is not carcinogenic include the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA), European Chemicals Agency (ECHA), German BfR, and Australian, Canadian, Korean, New Zealand and Japanese regulatory authorities, as well as the Joint FAO/WHO Meeting on Pesticide Residues (JMPR).

In January 2019 (click here), Health Canada concluded: «After a thorough scientific review», concerns about glyphosate safety «could not be scientifically supported when considering the entire body of relevant data». Health Canada also noted that the 20 scientists who conducted the review, who had not been involved in its 2017 re-evaluation of glyphosate, «left no stone unturned» and «had access to all relevant data and information from federal and provincial governments, international regulatory agencies, published scientific reports and multiple pesticide manufacturers».

As part of Bayer's Transparency Initiative, the company has committed to enabling access to all of the in-depth glyphosate safety and other crop protection studies submitted to the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) that Bayer has permission to disclose on its transparency platform (click here). Bayer remains committed to offering more choices for growers and announced last year an investment of approximately 5 billion euros to develop additional methods to combat weeds over the next decade.

To access the EPA's Proposed Interim Registration Review Decision, click here.

For more information on Roundup, visit Bayer's website