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PROESA, European Union, SIECA and CBI of the Netherlands work together to strengthen competitiveness and improve access to the European market for Central American SMEs

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From 20 to 25 October 2019, the Centre for the Promotion of Imports from Developing Countries (CBI by its initials in Dutch) is organizing an European market orientation mission for companies who produce and export fresh fruit and vegetables and participate in the "Connecting Central America" initiative.


The Export and Investment Promotion Agency of El Salvador (known in Spanish as PROESA) participates as an implementing member of the project.


This initiative, financed by the European Union (EU) and the Netherlands, seeks to reinforce the competitiveness of Central American small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and promote their exports to the European market, taking advantage of the Association Agreement between Central America and the EU, to contribute to the sustainable economic development of the Central American region. The initiative is being carried out within the framework of the Central American Regional Economic Integration Project, financed by the EU and coordinated by the Secretaría de Integración Económica Centroamericana (SIECA in Spanish).


The market orientation mission delegation is made up of 18 fresh fruit and vegetable SMEs from Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua and Panama. In addition, together with PROESA, other Central American institutions take part as well, such as the Asociación de Exportadores de Guatemala (known in Spanish as AGEXPORT), the Fundación para la Inversión y Desarrollo de Exportaciones (FIDE in Spanish), the Asociación de Productores y Exportadores de Nicaragua (known in Spanish as APEN), the Cámara de Exportadores de Costa Rica (CADEXCO in Spanish) and the Centro de Competitividad de la Región Occidental de Panamá (known in Spanish as CECOM-RO).


The mission is carried out in the Netherlands and Spain, taking advantage of the international fresh fruit and vegetable fair; Fruit Attraction, in Madrid. The operation started in Rotterdam, the Netherlands with theoretical sessions on EU regulations, cold chain and quality control, sustainability and Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR).


The participants then visited the Fruit Attraction fair, which takes place from October 22 to October 24 in Madrid, Spain. This convention is the commercial meeting point for the fresh fruit and vegetable sector for exporters and importers from all over the world. This year, 1,800 exhibiting companies from 130 countries will be joining it. The aims of the visit to this fair are diverse: to get to know the European commercial culture, to follow the latest trends in terms of product, distribution and price, to get to know the competition and potential clients, CSR, to learn how to hold commercial meetings and to broaden their contact base.


In addition, 5 companies from the fresh fruit and vegetable import and distribution sector will be visited in the Netherlands and Spain. The companies visited have full quality certifications with a vision for the future and are leaders in the supply of fruit, fresh vegetables and logistics to supermarkets inside and outside their countries. Following the presentations of these companies, Central American exporters are expected to have greater knowledge of what is needed to sell to Europe.


During the stay in Madrid there have been two theoretical sessions. Firstly, there will be a presentation on a successful participation in fairs and an Export Marketing Planning workshop. Beforehand, participants will develop a plan, identifying on one hand their strengths and weaknesses, and on the other hand, the opportunities and threats of the European market. During the session a confrontation of these points will be made, strategies will be defined, and an action plan will be elaborated. Conclusively, there will be a visit to one of the largest fresh fruit and vegetable markets in the world: MercaMadrid. In MercaMadrid the participants will learn about different products and their corresponding prices.


The 18 companies participating in the mission have products such as: Hass avocado, passion fruit, mango, papaya, lemon, pumpkin, Chinese peas and sweet peas, mini vegetables, okra, yucca and other tubers such as malanga, sweet potato (organic) and ginger. The mission has been designed so that each company can learn and use the experiences gained in its organization. The European market is large and very diverse. Central America has products with potential for expansion in these market niches.


To learn more about the services provided by PROESA, call (503) 25927000 or visit our website


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October 25, 2019


Actualizado 11/21/2019
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