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USA 17/05/2022

Natalia Gamarra, the new director of the International Relations Department at IFPA

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In 2021, the Produce Marketing Association (PMA) and the United Fresh Produce Association (United Fresh) created  the International Fresh Produce Association (IFPA) combining their resources and knowledge to improve member services, increase advocacy before the government and the public, assist members in growing their businesses, and boost consumption of fresh produce.

In the same year, IFPA promoted  Natalia Gamarra to Director for the International Relations, who kindly shared her story of success with Fructidor and helped better understand general objectives of the Association. 

Fructidor: "Natalia, you are the new Director of the International Relations department, what is your background?"

Natalia: "Yes, I am the Director, International Member Relations. 22 years ago I left Argentina to be an AuPair in the United States and later pursued my education and professional future. My colleagues say that I am a living example of cultural integration, a natural leader with a deep sense of teamwork, backed by a highly professional and strategic approach to business challenges and opportunities. I was part of PMA and also United Fresh Produce Association, now known as International Fresh Produce Association (IFPA) where I am responsible for leading the international market. I have been in the industry for over 13 years and my career in produce enabled me to help members grow by providing connections that expands business opportunities and increases sales and consumption. My education goes back to Pierce College in Philadelphia where I obtained a BS in International and Marketing graduating with honors. Later I pursued a Master's Degree in Business Management at Gwynedd Mercy University. In 2012, I was awarded Delaware Valley’s Most Influential Latinos and currently I sit on the Board of Directors of Global Women Fresh and the Global Development Committee at the International Fresh Produce Association." 

Fructidor: "Following the merging of PMA and United Fresh, in what aspect the mission of the new IFPA is different? What has changed for the US industry?"

Natalia: "We did not merge, merge has a negative connotation. We join forces and put the best of both worlds together to better serve the industry as one association. Our vision is to create a vibrant future for all with the mission to grow prosperity for the world of fruit, vegetables and floral. IFPA is the largest industry association representing the interests, individuals, and organizations of all sizes and specialties across the global supply chain. We are positioned to serve as a resource and partner for the media, policymakers, and change leaders who are invested in the solutions the industry has the power to provide. IFPA serves to advocate nationally and globally for the fresh supply chains through government advocacy and leadership, especially in the North American market. The association continues to grow connections within the industry, and between the industry and the world, for the better outcomes of both. We guide the industry and partners with unmatched expertise both on the IFPA team and through volunteer leaders."


Fructidor: "What are the objectives of IFPA?"

Natalia: "Our objective is to advocate (Advocacy & IFPA Foundation), connect (Business Networking and Data & Insights), and guide (Expertise & Solutions)."

Fructidor: "How is IFPA organized?"

Natalia: "Cathy Burns, our CEO leads a group of seven Chief Executives: marketing, membership, food safety, government relations, education, finance, and science. Members are able to benefit from our team of experts and additionally, the association is guided by the industry volunteer leaders on the board and the executive committee."  

Fructidor: "How is the International relations department organized?"

Natalia: "As a global association, every department plays a role to help achieve IFPA’s goals. Our team is based in the USA with representatives in AU/NZ, Brazil, China, Chile, Mexico, Peru, and South Africa. In most of those countries we have a country council of members that help guide IFPA efforts in-country."

Fructidor: "International relations department: in which issues are you focusing on? What are the biggest challenges?"

Natalia: "We recently hosted an Executive Leadership Summit prior to Fruit Logistica in Berlin with top CEO’s and leaders in the industry from all continents.  At the Berlin Summit, participants shared the challenges and opportunities facing global markets across our industry:

1. Supply Chain Logistics – The movement of fresh produce and floral through the supply chain will only continue to be increasingly complex. The development of new technologies and resources, as well as continued collaboration between global markets and the industry, will be key. IFPA will continue to work with our members to understand and manage this complex business issue.

2. Data – Across all of our markets, we heard a desire for information to help our members make educated business decisions. Whether it be consumer trends, economics, forecasting or more, IFPA will not only be a resource for data, but also work with our members to understand the implications for their companies and the industry.

3. Labor – It’s no secret that our industry is in an unprecedented labor crisis. Together with our members, IFPA will seek solutions for this challenge – whether it be advocacy, advancing automation or other creative opportunities to ensure the fresh produce and floral industries have the support your businesses need to thrive.

4. Natural Resource, Pest and Disease Management – Fresh produce and floral depend on the natural resources of the earth. IFPA will work with our members to make sure we follow science-based practices in sustainability to ensure a successful and vibrant future.

Top priorities for the following five Focus Areas include:

Food Safety and Regulatory Affairs: Promote harmonized, global food safety standards and create a communication strategy to boost confidence in the safety of fresh produce among retailers and consumers.

Demand Creation: Adopt data-driven, innovative marketing designed to meet the interest of today’s and tomorrow’s consumers as it relates to not only healthy eating, but also the flavor of fresh

Science and Technology: Focus on combating food waste and conserving natural resources (water, carbon) through new approaches to production and access to technology tools to drive innovation

Talent: Compete for the next generation of talent by emphasizing the positive impacts of our products and the relationship-based culture of our industry, bring intentional about diversity, equity and inclusion, and offering career-long training and development programs to support retention and succession planning.

Trade and Market Access: There is opportunity for growth in Southeast Asia markets, and the association’s efforts to address supply chain logistics, rising costs and trade barriers will be key to support that growth."



For more information about the International Fresh Produce Association, send your inquiry






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IFPA is the largest industry association representing the interests, individuals, and organizations of all sizes and specialties across the global supply chain. We are positioned to serve as a resource and partner for the media, policymakers, and change leaders who are invested in the solutions the industry has the power to provide.
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