Global virtual town hall

Photo by PEI Potato Board

The Produce Marketing Association convened a virtual town hall on March 25, with more than 800 members registered from 21 countries. 

 

The virtual town hall featured perspectives from PMA CEO Cathy Burns, chief science officer, Dr. Max Teplitski, and Cornerstone Government Affairs’ principal and director, Hunt Shipman.  Here’s a summary of the main themes. 

 

Global Trade: 

 

With members from Mexico, Singapore, the EU, Colombia, Peru, the United States and China all providing insights, the discussion focused on patterns from country to country as the pandemic progresses. This includes an initial rise in retail from panic buying, making it difficult to anticipate demand, followed by a stabilizing period where the largest questions remaining are about trade and logistics.  

 

Supply Chain:  

 

This roundtable highlighted differences between European challenges and what is becoming a challenge in the United States. Within Europe, fewer retailers are geared to support e-commerce or online grocery shopping.  Additionally, with air freight deeply impacted, maintaining capacity in the supply chain has become a challenge while ground transportation has seen fewer problems. In the United States, the main delays are not at ports or border crossings; they are at distribution centers waiting to be unloaded, possibly due to facility policies around social distancing among the workforce.   

 

Retail:  

 

Similar to other roundtable discussions, this group confirmed the stabilization of retail traffic. Members from multiple companies were reflecting similar challenges, ranging from a decrease in trucks for produce as other products grew in demand, to childcare issues facing retail employees whose children are out of schools.  Most retailers are seeing the same core group of products - including bananas, potatoes, carrots and onions – make up the bulk of purchases.   

 

Foodservice:  

 

Foodservice has seen a considerable amount of disruption from the operator through the supply chain. Discussions here focused on how foodservice is responding to the crisis by offering take-out and delivery approaches and even trimming down menus. There were also instances of collaboration to save fresh product as well as jobs, including distributing directly to retailers who were reducing produce deliveries to account for other high-demand items. Members remain optimistic about the future but are concerned about how the supply chain will be able to meet restaurants’ needs in a post-COVID-19 world.  

 

Growers/Shippers:  

 

Here, industry leaders from the U.S., South Africa and Spain discussed the uncertainties facing growers and shippers globally. While the supply chain is stable, a shared major concern is maintaining labour in a way that is safe for employees and their employers. 

 

 

Source:  Produce Marketing Association March 25, 2020 news release  

If latest news: 
Check if it is latest news (for "Latest News" page)
Publish date: 
Thursday, March 26, 2020

Click to leave a comment

CAPTCHA
For security purposes, please confirm you are not a robot!

RELATED NEWS

Pharr International Bridge to expand

The crossing between Reynosa, Mexico and Pharr, Texas is expanding to accommodate $35 billion in trade and more in the years to come. It’s the number one crossing in the U.S for produce. More than 10 per cent of the crossings are in high-value berries.

International blueberry coalition formed

In a new twist, some of America’s largest blueberry growers are insisting that there is no injury to the industry when most imports arrive outside the domestic growing season of late April to early September. The coalition went public a week before the U.S. International Trade Commission looks at the case on January 12.

Blueberry alliance formed in U.S.

The American Blueberry Growers Alliance has been established to seek relief from rising imports. While Peru and Mexico are said to be the main irritants, Canada is also caught up in the International Trade Commission investigation.  

American farmers may get paid to plant cover crops

The U.S. president-elect has nominated former Iowa governor Tom Vilsack to become agriculture secretary. His approach to climate change will be watched closely in rural America. 

International Year of Fruits and Vegetables launches Dec 15

Conceived pre-pandemic, the International Year of Fruits and Vegetables is more relevant than ever. The UN’s focus will be on health benefits as well as preventing food waste.