MADRID: For the first time since official data from the Regional Directorate of the Ministry of Industry and Foreign Trade Institute of Spain (ICEX) have been available, the province of Alicante imports as much fresh fruit (especially tropical fruits) and almonds as it does footwear. In the first quarter, the suppliers of these fruits from South America, South Africa and other Asian countries, such as Thailand, and of almonds, namely California, exported to the province no less than 172 million Euro worth of goods, which is 101% more than a year ago.
One company, Eurobanan-Coplaca (Canary Islands Banana Cooperative), which has the highest turnover in the province of Alicante, is mostly responsible for the province’s massive purchase of unpreserved fresh fruit. The firm is headquartered in Mercalicante, with chambers devoted to the preservation and ripening of these fruits, especially bananas. With eleven offices in Spain (Vigo, Madrid, Bilbao, Barcelona, Seville, Jerez, Murcia, Alicante, Valencia, Mallorca and Canary Islands) and 138,000 tonnes of product handled per year, the Eurobanan centre in Mercalicante is one of the largest in Spain. It supplies the retailer Mercadona as well as other retail chains across the country.
Since the start of its operations in horticulture, the Eurobanan Group has recorded an increase in sales, reaching a total of 340 million Euro. The main products marketed are bananas avocados, mangoes, pineapples, papayas and limes.
The company Eurobanan Canarias was created from a joint venture between Coplaca and Fyffes. Two years later, in 1995, Angel Rey SA partnered with it to form what is today known as Eurobanan Group. The company is a pioneer in the marketing of products not produced in Spain, such as Passacrassana pears from Italy, pineapples from Ivory Coast and Cameroon, curly endive from Belgium, off-season vegetables and salads from the Netherlands and France, mangoes, papayas, coconuts, squash, avocados or red oranges from Sicily.
About half of the 172 million Euro (compared with 85 in January-March 2014) worth of fresh fruit purchased by Alicante corresponds to tropical fruits, mainly imported by Eurobanan.
The other half (78 million in January and February and 25 in March) corresponds to almonds from California, the world’s largest producer. In fact, Alicante’s import from the U.S. registers a 117% increase in this quarter, mainly due to the massive purchases to produce nougat and many other Spanish and European sweets. 158.5 million Euro worth of imports have been made from the United States in just three months, with more than half corresponding to almonds.