Brazilian ginger now in the U.S. pipeline
by John Groh | July 08, 2010
The Union of Growers of Brazilian Papaya, whose primary focus is the
production and distribution of papaya from South America's largest country,
also handles ginger and is now promoting the availability of that commodity
to the U.S. market.
According to Frederico H. Vieira Tavares, manager of international markets at
UGBP, the organization is dedicated to high-quality and healthy papaya
production and has been certified by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s
Animal & Plant Health Inspection Service and EurepGAP. It brings the same
dedication and care in producing ginger, which is grown on 18 small family
farms in the country’s Espirito Santo area.
Mr. Tavares, who works from the offices of Crown Global Corp. in Key
Biscayne, FL, which is the U.S. counterpart of UGBP, said that it is common in
Brazil for papaya growers to also grow ginger, so it made sense for UGBP to
add that commodity four years ago. Since that time, ginger volume has grown
slowly but steadily, but it is still a relatively small-volume commodity for
Brazil compared to a ginger giant like China.
For example, Mr. Tavares said that Brazil will ship between 120 and 150
containers of ginger to the United States this season. By comparison, China
shipped more than 1,200 containers to the United States in 2007. Each
container carries 1,280 13.6-kilo boxes of ginger.
But what Brazil lacks in volume it more than makes up for in quality and
flavor, said Mr. Tavares.
"The big advantages of Brazilian ginger are the flavor and the certifications,"
he said, adding that UGBP expects to receive GlobalGAP certification for its
ginger the week of July 12.
Brazilian ginger is available from June through November, with peak volume
occurring in August and September.
The main U.S. receiving point for UGBP’s ginger is the port of Newark in New
Jersey. From there, about half the volume is trucked to California. Overall,
UGBP’s exports are split between the U.S. East Coast (30 percent), the U.S.
West Coast (30 percent) and Europe (40 percent), with the Netherlands, Italy
and the United Kingdom comprising the main European markets.
Currently, UGBP is selling product mostly through importers, but it is hoping
to eventually go direct to retailers on the U.S. East Coast.
Mr. Tavares said that UGBP is using the social networking site Twitter to help
spread the word about its products. “We are one of the first Brazilian
exporters to use Twitter,” he said. “It is important because it allows us to
communicate with both the consumers and our customers.”