Driscoll’s to plough in €3 million in Portugal
After a huge success of the Portuguese fruit and vegetables companies in a trade fair in Berlin, the berry giant Driscoll’s announced to put in another €3 million into the operations in Portugal.
It’s a move that will see this little corner of Europe finally up there with the ‘big boys’ – proving that Portugal’s climate has so much more to offer than the traditional image of only sun and sea.
As Driscoll’s director of operations for the Iberian Peninsula and Morocco, Nuno Simões explains, the climate here is “very much like that of California” and so ideal for the cultivation of red berries.
Already, Driscoll’s has invested over €17 million in the last decade in Portugal. The American-based family concern with an annual turnover of over €3 billion has around 400 hectares on-board, involving the participation of 44 producers, both in the Algarve and Alentejo.
Plans now are to extend this by another 50-60 hectares that should see Portugal’s production of blueberries doubling – thus turning the country into Europe’s largest supplier for markets in the EMEA region.
This far Driscoll’s Portugal has managed an annual turnover of €25.5 million, supplying European markets with strawberries, raspberries, blackberries and the increasingly popular blueberries.
As Nuno Simões highlighted, the company has a “very large” growth potential as red fruits – as berries are called – are in fashion and carry excellent health benefits.
“We like to say we are the healthy sweets,” he told reporters after the Fruit Logistica trade fair in Berlin.
Driscoll’s operations are marketed under the names LusoMorango, Madre Fruta and Aromas.
In the Algarve, raspberry producer Hubel stressed another huge advantage that Portugal has over other growers. Calling it a window, Hubel’s executive director Tiago Andrade explained Portugal could produce raspberries between the months of February and May, when no other European producers had the climate to do so.
Thus Hubel’s turnover has been increasing every year. The last ‘record’ was €11 million, twice as much as the year before.