“… rising prices for packaging, ocean freight, and diesel fuel are key industry concerns …”
Guilherme Coelho is an agronomist who graduated from São Paulo State University, Jaboticabal campus, and a grape, and mango producer. Coelho is the president of the Brazilian Association of Exporters of Fruits and Derivatives (Abrafrutas).
AgriBrasilis – What is the national fruit growing outlook and what are its strengths?
Coelho – We have excellent quality fruits in different regions of Brazil. In Rio Grande do Sul, for example, we have apples; in the São Francisco Valley, we have mangoes and grapes; in Rio Grande do Norte, melons; in Bahia and São Paulo we have lemons; we have avocadoes as a strong crop in São Paulo, while in Espirito Santo we have lemons and papayas. In the Northeast, we have fruits all year round: melons in Rio Grande do Norte are produced practically all year round, as well as in the São Francisco Valley, with mangoes and grapes. This makes it possible for us to make fruit available both in the domestic and external markets during the 12 months of the year.
AgriBrasilis – What is the potential of fresh fruit exports?
Coelho – The fruit export potential is huge. We increasingly need to improve our performance to open new markets in different regions and countries of the world. We recently conquered the export of melons to China and lemons to Chile and we are heavily studying the export of grapes to China, as well as avocadoes and lemons to the United States.
We have quality and we increasingly need to place our fruit abroad.
AgriBrasilis – What are the sector’s difficulties? What could be improved?
Coelho – The major difficulties in the sector today include the increase in prices of certain items, which increase the cost of fruit production, for example, the packaging, such as cardboard boxes, whose prices have increased a lot now in the pandemic. In addition, diesel oil reached very high values. Recently, we are facing difficulties with fertilizers, which, in addition to the price increase, have limited supply. Another item that concerns us a lot is ocean freight. From 2020 to 2021, freight has increased by more than 100%. Logistics make it difficult for production values to stay within normal ranges.
AgriBrasilis – What factors led to the 2021 export record?
Coelho – In my opinion, this record is due to the pandemic. I believe this has led people to eat healthier. With this, the consumption of fruits has increased a lot, as they are sources of vitamins and minerals.
In addition, there was an increase in the dollar, which rose 20%. Export volume rose 18%, hitting a record of US$ 1.06 billion. We need to grow quickly to multiply these values, as the country has the area, technology, credit, and conditions.