Euroconte is the Brazilian company behind Bátia, one of the country’s oldest, most traditional brands, introduced in 1976 as an export company committed to the shipment of top quality exotic fruits to the international market, pioneering the export of all kinds of products to Europe and the United States, including mangoes, grapes, melons or papayas.
”Over all those years we have faced many challenges due to Brazil’s circumstances, such as the dollar/real exchange rate issues, and climatic changes as well,” affirms Denise Braga, who has been in charge of Euroconte since 1995. Over time, the Brazilian export business has naturally experienced some changes. “We used to do a lot of maritime shipments, which require good management to prevent the risk of unforeseen problems, but currently we focus almost exclusively on air shipments.
The reason for the company’s focus on air shipments is twofold. On the one hand, there are marketing motivations, such as in the case of guavas, where demand is not large enough to warrant maritime shipments; on the other hand, it ensures that the fruit arrives in perfect conditions in terms of both appearance and flavour.
“We are very happy with that decision because we created a niche market of great quality fruit. We currently ship, among other products, Palmer mangoes, tropical avocados, and guava, and have become the leading exporter of figs in the past ten years, for which we own a Global G.A.P. certified farm. The only product we ship by sea is ginger, as it has a very long shelf life,” explains Denise.
According to Denise, one of the majors issues for Brazil in recent times have been the changes in the weather. “In November and December last year, for example, with the fig campaign starting, we faced the driest summer on record; a season which is normally a very rainy period. Over time, the length of the avocado season has also changed, being reduced from twelve to seven months.”
Euroconte’s main clients are Europe, Canada, the United States and Asia. “We were the first company to ship figs to Asia, namely to Hong Kong,” says Denise. Figs, of the ‘Purple de Valinhos’ variety, are also the company’s main source of revenue, as unlike other fruits, they have a very long season, lasting from November to August. “Every single day we have a harvest and shipment in order to ensure their freshness, which is a very tough job,” explains Denise. “99% of our figs are exported to Europe, as the U.S. is closed to Brazilian figs due to phytosanitary restrictions.”
There are differences between the characteristics of fruit distributed in the domestic market and that shipped overseas, mainly in terms of appearance, maturation and shape. “Europe, for instance, does not accept fruit with physiological defects, like spots, which makes the selection of fruit for export a very hard process, thus resulting in higher prices. “For this reason, we prefer not to work with the local market, instead, to focus on top quality fruit, enabling us to provide a top quality service to the importers,” concludes Denise Braga.