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[Press Release] SHAFFE Announces Key Areas for Southern Hemisphere Exporters

December 28, 2020

This content has been published as provided by its author. It has only been modified from its original version to follow Produce Report editorial guidelines and for necessary website formatting.

The Southern Hemisphere Association of Fresh Fruit Exporters has closed the 2020 association year with its now virtual North America meeting. Gathering SHAFFE’s members from across the Southern Hemisphere, the meeting examined market trends and developments during the COVID-19 pandemic in the U.S. market, which has continued to grow at an average pace of 5% over the past five years to a market value of roughly $4 billion for Southern Hemisphere exporters. The meeting marks the last in an increased virtual meeting schedule in 2020. The frequency of SHAFFE meetings was increased in 2020 to respond to the challenges of COVID-19 crisis management, replace trade fair and physical meeting opportunities, and increase the association’s capacity to quickly respond to the ever-changing trading environment.

The SHAFFE North America meeting, traditionally falling in the period of the PMA Fresh Summit, was held virtually on Dec. 1, 2020, with high participation from SHAFFE member countries. The U.S. and Canadian markets are important outlets for Southern Hemisphere fresh produce exports, which represent one-third of U.S. temperate fruit imports (1.2 million tons, $3.3 billion) and one-fifth of the Canadian temperate fruit market (244,000 tons, $550 million). While final trade figures for 2020 have not yet been made available, SHAFFE members report a smooth and non-restrictive trading environment despite the continued impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, especially with respect to the U.S. market. North American markets continue to grow at an average five-year level of 5% in terms of value, driven by high-value imports such as berries, avocados and table grapes. SHAFFE members welcomed increasing investment in improved logistics for the fruit trade in the U.S., such as the construction of new irradiation and cold treatment facilities, which will further facilitate fruit supplies in the region.

The intensified virtual meeting schedule for 2020 with regular bimonthly meetings has proven to be highly beneficial to SHAFFE members. During the North America meeting, SHAFFE President Anton Kruger (South Africa) affirmed the value of frequent SHAFFE meetings, commenting that, “During the course of 2020 we have observed increased participation and heightened exchange by all SHAFFE member countries. This year SHAFFE has acted as a valuable platform for in-depth discussions on matters such as food safety, sustainability and importantly the management of the COVID-19 pandemic.” Looking ahead to 2021, the organization will continue to increase its activity on sustainability and food safety matters as well as market intelligence to accompany Southern Hemisphere exporters through an ever-changing trading environment.

Nelli Hajdu, who had served as SHAFFE deputy secretary general since 2016, was appointed secretary general for the association in February 2020. Hajdu takes over the helm of the association from Philippe Binard and will continue to guide SHAFFE’s heightened work for member countries and scope of association activities into 2021.

SHAFFE Secretary General Nelli Hajdu, appointed in February 2020.

Images: Pixabay (main image), SHAFFE (body image)


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