CONTINUITY OF QUALITY
HIGH QUALITY RESOURCES
Good quality water and soil is the most important requirement for producing high-quality product. Dojrana Fresh Produce meets this requirement and will continue investing in the ongoing maintenance of the best-quality soil.
MODERN MACHINERY AND EQUIPMENT
Modern and professional machinery and production tools are utilised and labour is well trained in the field of crop management and harvest practices. This is to prevent external product damage such as harvest marks.
The resistance to external weather conditions plays a big role in the variety selection of the cropping plan. This way especially external, but also internal, product quality can be more easily maintained, also in suboptimal weather circumstances.
STRICT QUALITY POLICIES
When it comes to transport, special attention is given to maintain a closed cold chain from the farm gate to the warehouse of the customer. Products are transported in refrigerated trucks which are sealed at the farm and only opened again upon arrival at the customer’s warehouse. Quality controls are executed during the various stages of the growing process, directly prior to harvest, during the packing process and directly after packing. An independent quality survey company does a final quality check upon arrival on the customer’s premises.
PROXIMITY TO MAIN MARKETS
Due to the short life cycle of many products, a shorter transit of only a few days directly reflects in more freshness and thus a better quality of the product upon arrival. The proximity of Dojrana Fresh Produce to its main markets like Austria, Germany Scandinavian countries and Russia as well as the good access to seafreight transport translates directly in a quality advantage.
CONTINUITY OF AVAILABILITY
Dojrana Fresh Produce aims to meet supply programmes over a long period and thus be a reliable partner for its customers. In agriculture, unexpected weather conditions and diseases are the main threats to stable production volumes, which are required to provide continuity in a supply programme.
PROFESSIONAL CROP PROTECTION
In the case of crops that are susceptible to rain, wind or sun damage, risk mitigation already takes place in the variety selection phase. Dojrana Fresh Produce always choses for the best combination between eating quality and weather resistance. Crops that are susceptible to weather influences or crops that come into production during a period with a generally higher weather risk are covered with hail- and sun-protection systems to maintain quality and prevent product loss.
COMFORTABLE WATER AVAILABILITY
The decreasing availability of good quality water is a main threat for growers in many European production areas. As this a lack of water leads to production losses it is a threat for the continuity Dojrana Fresh Produce’s excellent water availability and quality, and extensive water-storage capacity (100,000 m3) virtually eliminates the risk of production loss due to water shortage.
Dojrana Fresh Produce pursues a strict quality-adherence approach. In line with this, Dojrana Fresh Produce does not strive towards price leadership but rather towards a competitive price-performance ratio. The company achieves a competitive cost price by creating as much efficiency as possible in the organisation.
MECHANIZATION AND EFFICIENCY PROCESSES
The implementation of smart mechanisation and productivity-increasing processes in non-mechanised areas plays an important role to realize cost price advantages. As Dojrana Fresh Produce operates on a scale that allows for professional mechanization, the company can achieve a substantial cost price advantage over small-scale producers as they are frequently found in Southern Europe.
Cost price advantages can also be attained in the field of logistics. Geographical distance was an important criterion when selecting target markets. The distance from Dojrana Fresh Produce to Croatia, Austria and Russia is about half the distance as from lasrge production areas in Southern Europe. This applies even more so to Serbia and Greece. Dojrana Fresh Produce is also more favourably situated for markets in the Middle East than its competitors. Its production locations are situated about 90 km from Thessaloniki harbour from where direct sea freight routes run to Jeddah, one of the main sea freight hubs in the Middle East. These logistical advantages do not only translate into more favourable transport costs, but especially also into faster speeds to market. This means more freshness on arrival, a longer shelf life and thus less waste for customers, which is perceived as a direct purchase cost advantage in the fruit and vegetable industry.
SHORT SUPPLY CHAIN
The supply chain is kept as short as possible. By coordinating the majority of the export and sales activities with end customers directly from the farm and head office in the Netherlands, costs for the services of external sales and export agents are avoided for both local and export sales.
DISTINCTION ON PRODUCT LEVEL
Dojrana Fresh Produce’s assortment quality distinguishes it from many other local producers. The utilisation of advanced production techniques and mechanisation, the choice of varieties which are largely new in the country, and advanced packaging translate directly into a superior product compared with the mainstream local produce. The fact that Dojrana Fresh Produce is fully compliant with leading retailers’ certification requirements is also a distinguishing factor.
In agriculture, production depends largely on the climate. This means that in all production countries, except those close to the Equator where the climate is stable throughout the year, crops can only be produced in a specific time slot of usually a few months. This means the quality of the product increases from the beginning to about the middle of the production season, and decreases again from the middle to the end of the production season. Dojrana Fresh Produce has designed its cropping plan so that production starts at the end of the production season of the earlier producing production areas. During this period a quality advanages can be realised also compared to sophisticated producers in other EU production areas. To enhance this effect, Dojrana Fresh Produce has selected high-quality cultivars with a distinguishing appearance and eating quality. This distinction is best explained based using specific examples from the following product groups:
The apples that will be planted are solely strong-colouring red cultivars such as Gala Schnico and Elstar which are preferred in the market over the less reddish cultivars which are still produced in most traditional production areas. Unlike most producers in other production areas, the entire orchard will be covered with a protective system to reduce weather damage and enhance quality. Gala apples can be harvested at the end of July. Being able to offer premium quality apple varieties in a time slot where product is scarce in the market is a strong distinguishing factor of the Dojrana Fresh Produce assortment.
Also when it comes to cherries, distinguishing quality is achieved in the field of cultivars. In December 2019, Dojrana Fresh Produce will plant only modern cultivars that produce cherries of large size and with excellent taste. The cherries will come into production in a market window where the availability of good-quality fresh product is very limited.
The picture is similar for apricots. Dojrana Fresh Produce has chosen Modern for red cultivars with excellent flavour The proximity to Lake Dojran mitigates against the risk of night frost, resulting in a more stable and higher-quality production. Also the fact that the production will take place on a fairly large scale in the fragmented apricot production market will provide an advantage as Dojrana Fresh Produce will have enough volume available for serving bigger retailers’ product programmes.
The two sustainability topics defined by InnoFruit are serving as the framework for Dojrana Fresh Produce’s sustainability initiatives.
IMPLEMENTATION OF RESPONSIBLE FARMING PRACTICES
Management of natural resources and waste management
Good farming practices and Global Gap certification are the basics of the operation in Macedonia. The responsible farming policy is currently still in the implementation phase. When it comes to water management, policies are in place to prevent overirrigation and to utilise irrigation water from natural catchment areas whenever possible. Dojrana Fresh is bringing precious land to culture again and improves soil fertility with green manure.
Approach toward Integrated Pest Management
Due to the fact that production activities in the area are still fairly limited, the pest pressure Dojrana Fresh Produce has to manage is relatively low. This is a good starting point for organic production and Integrated Pest Man- agement (IPM). Conventional pest management will eventually be fully replaced by IPM on all plots utilised for nonorganic production. Pesticides, herbicides and chemicals with a very short breakdown time are already used whenever possible. Techniques for setting up a composting site to recycle organic waste and use it for soil improvement are currently being investigated and will be implemented. Dojrana Fresh Produce will produce traditional native types and cultivars of fruit and vegetables on a small scale to preserve these less commercial varieties and ensure that they remain a component of the local ecosystem.
Power from renewable sources
As only a small percentage of energy is currently obtained from renewable sources in North Macedonia, Dojrana Fresh Produce aims to reduce the utilisation of electricity provided from the grid. To this end, solar panels will be installed.
IMPLEMENTATION OF SOCIAL INITIATIVES
The workforce and knowledge migration is a major obstacle for the further development of the country. Dojrana Fresh Produce gives special attention to this matter by providing intensified internal staff training and education programmes. Management team members and employees in key positions, such as foremen or technicians, are frequently sent to The Netherlands and other leading production countries to learn about modern production practices. Safety has the highest priority on the farm and therefore all employees are being trained accordingly. Next to this the orchards are designed to be labour friendly and where possible practical and labor relieving tools are being provided.