The International Congress of Red Fruits has closed its seventh edition today with a firm commitment to continue influencing its more social role hand in hand with permanent attention to workers, and with a clear vision for the improvement of innovation in the sector, openness and better knowledge of markets such as the German or Polish and the necessary vindication of a healthy diet.
In these two days more than 1,500 people have passed the Congress organized by Freshuelva, to whom their manager, Rafael Domínguez Guillén, has thanked “the support they have once again shown to an appointment that is made for the sector, but also for Huelva”.
Domínguez has stressed, in this sense, “the support of all people and institutions” to make a Congress a reality “which has once again demonstrated its usefulness for the sector and for the province”, so “all together we are already working to that the eighth edition is a reality, in which we will address, as always, the issues that most concern us, for which we hope to have the empathy of the administrations”.
With one of those issues that most concerns the sector, the social factor in red fruits, this year’s event has concluded. “We are going to continue working side by side with the organizations and social agents that help and improve the quality of life of our workers”, stressed the manager of Freshuelva.
Domínguez has been in charge of moderating a work table on this issue in which Javier Pérez Cepero, regional director for Andalusia and Ceuta of the Cepaim Foundation, has participated; Natalia Cost, coordinator of the Red Cross women’s care project; and Borja Ferrera, director of the Responsibility, Ethics, Labor and Social Plan (Prelsi) of Interfresa.
Pérez Cepero highlighted in his speech that the Cepaim Foundation has been working fruitfully with Freshuelva since 1994 “for coexistence, social cohesion and the reduction of inequalities”. In these years, he assured that “much progress has been made” in improving the living and working conditions of the workers who come to the agricultural campaign, and gave as an example the pilot project launched with Moroccan women to help them start their own business. countries with the money obtained from their work in the province.
For her part, Natalia Cost explained the program that the Red Cross has been developing for comprehensive care for Moroccan women originally hired in eleven towns in the province since 2002, helping them with everything they need from their arrival at the port of Algeciras until they are They leave Huelva. “It is wonderful to work with them and to be able to improve their work stay,” said the head of the NGO, for whom the collaboration of the companies is essential for the proper development of the program.
Borja Ferrera, head of Prelsi at Interfresa, the organization to which FresHuelva belongs, stated that the plan, which is carried out in collaboration with various NGOs and companies in the sector, “is giving very good results” thanks to its own philosophy as a “tool social multifunction”, through which they comprehensively attend to the needs of seasonal workers, whatever their origin. In this last campaign they have made 10,500 visits to farms and homes with “very satisfactory” results and an incident rate of around 8%.
German and Polish markets
The second day of the congress opened with a round table on the new emerging markets for the red fruit sector, focused on the specific cases of Poland and Germany, in which Agnieszka Wryk, from the Polish export firm Ewa-Bis, participated. ; and Hans-Christoph Behr, deputy director of the German agricultural consultancy AMI.
Wryk assured that the Spanish production of berries “is very important for the Polish market”, since it allows to put an end to its obligatory seasonality, despite the fact that Poland is already the ninth producer of berries in the world.
This Polish professional assured that consumers in her country are looking for “quality and freshness” and explained that consumers with higher incomes “are the main consumers of Spanish red fruits, which are available when there are no Polish ones”, buying more than seven kilos of fruit per person per year.
For his part, Hans-Christoph Behr explained that German consumers “increasingly demand a higher quality in red fruits”, something that they find in Spanish berries, which are present in the German markets for several months, depending on the oscillations climate of the Bavarian country.
Behr explained that the strawberry is the most consumed red fruit in Germany, followed by the blueberry and the raspberry. In total, in the last year more than 87,000 tons of Spanish berries were exported to the German market, which gives a good idea of the importance of Spanish exports for that country.
Spanish red fruits are, however, cheaper than German ones for final consumption in this country. “The secret is in the texture, which loses its firmness in the long transport that is necessary,” said Behr.
The second day of the Congress also focused on innovation in the red fruit sector, and it did so with a conference by Pedro Pietro, CEO of Befoodlab, a firm specializing in R&D&i in the sector of food, who advocated “reimagining the future of red fruits”.
In this sense, Pietro explained that consumers “are more complex every day”, with multiple tastes and appetites that depend on multiple factors, for which he described as “essential” that the red fruit sector “knows how to adapt to this new complexity through innovation.
The head of Befoodlab assured that “Huelva can be a great benchmark in food innovations around red fruits” and encouraged companies in the sector to take the leap to adapt to the new realities demanded by consumers. In this way, he gave as an example products such as vinegar, antioxidant powders, pulps, fiber, cosmetics and even textiles that are already marketed.
“The goal is to invent the markets of tomorrow at the service of healthy and sustainable food,” said Pietro, for whom knowing how to respond to the challenges that “consumers continually demand of us” is key.
Along these lines, the Congress also yesterday hosted a presentation focused on healthy eating by Rut Tenorio, director of the Prenauta Foundation, who detailed the project launched by the entity around education ‘Children eat the future’.
Tenorio assured that it is essential to “educate children to know how to eat”, a task in which the foundation he directs is committed and with which they have already managed to reach more than 20,000 children from 80 schools thanks to the collaboration of more than 400 cooks, a job with which they have managed to reduce by 0.5% the distancing of families from the Mediterranean diet.
“We want to build a new generation of conscious consumers,” said Ruth Tenorio, through a transversal program that covers “all the subjects taught in schools.”
Sponsors and collaborators
The organization of the Congress has repeated allies, who have also made a significant effort to continue alongside the sector, as does the exclusive main sponsor, the Fundación Caja Rural del Sur. The Huelva City Council, the Provincial Council, the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock, Fisheries and Sustainable Development and Extenda-Andalucía Exportation and Foreign Investment have also repeated as institutional sponsors, which has provided international speakers.
This participation of international speakers has also been supported by the collaboration of the usual sponsors of the Congress, which are the most important fruit and vegetable fairs in the international context, Fruit Logística de Berlín and Fruit Attracion, which will once again be held in Madrid in the first week of october.
In addition, the Congress has also had its ‘Media Partners’, which will include specialized media that have joined this event and have contributed to its dissemination, growth and greater projection, since they are media National and international. Specifically, Huelva Information, Agrodiario Huelva, Grupo Editorial Agrícola, Frutas & Hortalizas, Fruit Today, Fruticultura, Interempresas, Mercados Magazine, Siete Agromarketing, Horticultural Technology and Valencia Fruits have been present at the Casa Colón as Media Partners, so who have participated actively during the days of celebration of this international meeting of berries.
The International Congress of Red Fruits has also had a large list of official sponsors (Agrofresas, Atlántica Agrícola, Huelva Port Authority, Bayer, Brandt, Emcocal, Nova Siri Genetics, Probelte, Seipasa, SP Soluciones Agrícolas, UPL and Vellsam) and of official collaborators (Atens, CAAE, Corteva, Dicsa, Hispalense de Líquidos, Koppert, Planasa and Viveros El Pinar) who have been present at the fair offering the best services they can offer to the sector.
In addition, the partner companies of Freshuelva Tarazona, UPL, SP Soluciones Agrícola, Atens, Seipasa, Agrocolor, Planasa, Hispalense de Líquidos, Cascade, Asfert Global, Agrofresas and Bayer have given different technical conferences in which they have informed the sector of the latest and more interesting news and innovations that, as a novelty, in addition to Room A, have also been held in the Casa Colón Auditorium.