Valesco was presented with the prestigious Cruz de la Orden de Isabel La Catolica on behalf of the king by the Spanish ambassador Carles Casajuana in a ceremony at the National Gallery in London attended by family, friends and colleagues from the fresh produce industry.
The award recognises Velasco's long and varied career in the fresh produce industry, during which he has represented Spain and taken a number of influential roles, including the presidency of the Fresh Produce Consortium (FPC), chairman of the FPC's importers' division, committee member of the Seasonal Berry campaign, spokesperson for Winter Berries and an executive board member of the industry's Eat in Colour promotional campaign.
Maria Jose Sevilla, director of Foods and Wines from Spain at the Spanish Commercial Office, said: "We are delighted that Michael's dedication to Spanish fresh produce has been recognised with this award.
"In a career spanning three decades, Michael's hard work and commitment to his own fruit business specifically and the produce industry in general has been critical to the development of the Spanish fruit business in the UK, not to mention initiatives such as Eat in Colour. Michael thoroughly deserves this recognition."
Valesco started his career with jobs in the computer and banking industries before starting in procurement at Rodanto Imports Exports Ltd in 1975, with particular responsibility for developing imports from the Canary Islands.
He become managing director of Rodanto in 1977, a position he retained until standing down in 2002. He is still group chairman. He is also director of MJ Fruit Farms in Kent and Holbrook Holdings.