MONTEREY, Calif. — Though fresh produce is holding up in the global recession, companies need to position themselves through specialty products and low debt levels  if they are to emerge market leaders, said two economists.

Fresh produce businesses need to look globally, economists say
                                      Dawn Withers

Marieke De Rijke, vice president of Rabobank International’s America’s food and agribusiness research and advisory department, talks about the effect of the recession on the produce industry June 24.

Speaking at a June 24 presentation hosted by agriculture and food banking specialist Rabobank, economists Kenneth Shwedel and Marieke de Rijke told a group of more than 50 bank and business executives that the produce industry is a global business and they must pursue consumers in developing countries.

“The fresh produce industry hasn’t been hit has much with (the recession) because most is consumed at the retail level,” de Rijke said about the shift in global consumer habits from eating out preparing meals at home.
 
The presentation was at the Monterey Bay Aquarium, the first in nearly three years for the bank, and offered an opportunity for bank executives to meet with existing and potential agricultural clients.
 
Shwedel, who is based in Mexico City, heads Rabobank International’s food and agribusiness research for Mexico, Argentina and Chile. De Rijke is vice president of Rabobank International’s America’s food and agribusiness research and advisory department, and is based in New York.