João Marcos de Souza Lima, of Agros:

“After the successes in the European market, we are now looking to reach the United States with our varieties”

Fruit growing has experienced a rapid expansion in the São Francisco Valley, in Petrolina, turning this region of the state of Pernambuco into the most important table grape production area in Brazil, which has the largest companies devoted to this industry, such as Agros.

"Agros has been in the fruit market for 19 years (since 2003) and the division in charge of exports and imports has been Direct Market for the last 10 years. We are specialized in table grapes, with a large volume sold in the domestic market. Last year, in fact, we were among the largest companies in terms of volume in the domestic market. Our main brands in the domestic market are the premium brands Delicat and Preferita," says João Marcos de Souza Lima, foreign trade coordinator.

"Over the past two years, Agros has experienced strong growth. Even during the pandemic, the company has continued to grow and gain ground as an exporter."

"After an agreement signed with SNFL to be able to work with its varieties, we started with our exports in 2020 with a small volume to the Netherlands, and last year we closed it with 146 export transactions reaching new markets. Now, in addition to the Netherlands, we are present in the UK, Argentina and Spain, having signed big agreements in these countries. This year I have learned that some farms have been delivering the Vitória variety to the United States and we are looking forward to starting with our product in the second half of the year. We are also looking into working with the Arab Emirates market."

"We want to grow little by little, but in a responsible manner, always showing the quality of our service and work, offering a personal treatment to customers. It is exciting to see how far we have come along since we started."

Ayron, representative of the Delicat Group; Gustavo, financial director, and João Marcos, foreign trade coordinator.

"We work with a wide range of grape varieties, including the Vitória, a black seedless grape that is very popular in the UK; the white seedless variety Timpson; and Krissy and Iris, two red seedless varieties. This year we will also have the Melody, a black seedless variety from SNFL, as well as the Melodia, a Brazilian red grape from Embrapa. For the Argentinian markets we have seeded varieties such as the Italia, Nubia and Benitaka."

"Also, this year we are completing the second phase of the construction of our cold storage facilities, which are going to allow us to have space for 1,500 pallets of our grapes for both export markets and the domestic market."

Jubilino, Preferita group consultant.

"With 2.5 harvests a year, we can supply Vitória grapes 52 weeks a year"
It is estimated that the San Francisco Valley region, known as the "Brazilian California", accounts for around 90% of the table grapes exported by the country, says João Marcos. "This region's climate allows us to have 2.5 table grape harvests per year. This allows us to have a supply of Vitória grapes to meet the market demand all year round, including that from the United States."

In this first half of the year, the weather has actually made the market situation harder, with a particular impact on the production of white grapes for export. "Due to the rains, the season has not turned out as we expected, since they have caused us to lose many pallets. They have taken a toll not only on our volume, but on that of the whole valley. Moreover, it has been unusually cold these days in some southern regions, so consumption in these regions has been affected, and in our region we also had more rain compared to last year, which has had an impact on the production."

The current situation in the grape market is not good in many ways, says João Marcos de Souza. "There are more volumes from other countries being shipped to Europe and Argentina, for example, which also affects prices in the local market. Besides, there is also the rise in land and sea transportation and general costs. Because of all this, we believe that prices will have to increase if the operations are to remain profitable."

"It will be quite a challenge this season, but one of our goals is to get our grapes to the United States. We are here to achieve that and I am confident that we will succeed."

For more information:
Av. Central, 953 - Portal da Cidade
56313-050, Petrolina/PE, Brazil
Móvil: + 55 87 98842-4392
Tel.: +55 (87) 3861-2356

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