view current print edition




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.”