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TROPS is reaping good results in spite of the “difficult” situation

Its client portfolio is growing; it has increased its avocado production by +50% and it closed the mango campaign with +40.9% compared to 2021. The Manager, Enrique Colilles, tells the story to Fruit Today.

In your first forecasts for 2021/2022 you put the increase in mango and avocado production at 30% each, exceeding 40 million kilos of production in Spain. Are these figures being maintained?

In this campaign the increase in our avocado production is above 50%. The campaign has not finished yet, we have the two months with the best value still to go and in the mango campaign, which has already ended, we have increased production by 40.91% with respect to the preceding one. We must take into consideration that we continue to increase the number of farmer associates that we have in all the production areas where we are present, from the Region of Valencia to the Portuguese Algarve, passing through Granada, Malaga, Cadiz and Huelva.

The Association of Tropical Fruits is asking for a significant Hydrological Plan that may help alleviate the drought situation. How are the crops doing at the moment? How is the situation affecting you? 

Indeed, I share the Association of Tropical Fruits’ opinion: a Hydrological Plan is needed. However, the current drought situation speeds up processes that in other situations are not considered to be urgent. And now we have a series of initiatives in progress promoted by the production sector which, with the necessary collaboration by the public sector, I am sure are going to be developed satisfactorily and are going to guarantee water over the next few years, regardless of the rainfall cycle.

Recently, the escalating price of inputs and labour expenses have been made worse by the Ukraine war. How are you experiencing this? 

It is a very serious problem. In the first place, due to the social situation in this country, which used to live in peace but now has seen another country start a war with it. And this teaches the rest of European citizens that we must look after peace and learn how to live together. And at times, it seems that we take peace for granted and don’t treat it as we should.

Regarding the impact on costs, it is true that they have increased significantly, putting many productive sectors in danger, including ours. It affects us both in relation to our convenience food range and fresh produce. Energy prices have reached unsustainable levels and the inputs and materials are not only expensive, but also scarce. Something that is both unimaginable and incomprehensible.

Competition from third countries is increasing and has slowed the sales rate down. How does this affect Spanish produce? What can the sector expect from the future?

This is a year with an important output by all the avocado-producing countries, which with the well-known ‘law of supply and demand’ is generating a drop in prices, but it is not taking away our competitiveness. TROPS avocados are in great demand and are well-known on the markets, due to the attributes that we have been working on for years: guarantee of quality and perfect ripeness, and we are reaping the results of this work in times as difficult as these! Consumers and distribution chains know about them and ask for them. We are increasing our client portfolio in spite of the difficult situation.

For a few years now, you have been strengthening your strategy in the media, and this year you are repeating the Spanish nationwide avocado advertising campaign, after the experience started with ‘the mango-est mango’…

Yes, we have been making an important investment in research and agricultural processes for 15 years, both in production and in post-harvest, focused on obtaining an avocado and mango proposal with perfect ripeness and guaranteed organoleptic quality. And we believe that this is the moment to inform the consumers. It is possible to buy a perfectly ripe avocado and a mango that is always delicious!

Regarding the promotion of fruit and vegetables, you are drivers, along with other companies, behind the ‘What We Eat’ Foundation. Will we see any new developments here in the near future? 

We hope so; we believe that this is a Foundation that is necessary to communicate and propose to society the values and properties included in the agricultural products that we produce and to carry out the actions necessary to ensure that they hold onto the position they deserve in all the corresponding areas. From their availability for eating in educational centres, health centres, institutional events, communication campaigns, replacing ultra-processed products that take advantage of our values to obtain sales that replace ours.

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