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First lychees from Madagascar in Zeebrugge 17th of December
Sea piracy forces ship owners to sail around the Cape for 5 days longer

The cargo ship Hansa Stockholm is on its way to the Belgian port Zeebrugge, with 6500 pallets of lychees from Madagascar. According to director Nico Schaft of the specialised in import French 888 Fruit Company, situated on the wholesale market in Rungis, France, the quality of the lychees is good, but the size sorting (28-30 mm) is slightly smaller than last year. Due to piracy on the sea route through the Suez canal they chose to sail a route which is 5 days longer round the Cape of Good Hope and instead of to an Italian port, to the Belgian Zeebrugge. The total volume for export from Madagascar destined for the important European market is confirmed at 17,500 tonnes and is 2,000 tonnes lower than last year. The last ship is expected in the 3rd week of January, and at the moment the lychees of the season are flown in until the 17th of December.

The packaging hasn't been changed and the lychees can be supplied in a 2 and 5.5 kilogram packages, and Nico thinks that due to a lower supply the prices will be great in the European retail market. The import of lychees from Madagascar is almost 100% in French hands and isn't hindered by the Chinese production, which is exported to the Middle-East and Singapore. Export to the U.S. is more difficult because the lychees have to be treated with sulphite against browning. Last year a higher sulphide content that allowed was found by German retailers and according to Nico Schaft this could be a problem for future import because of the stricter food safety requirements for import and quality for lychees from Madagascar.

For more information:
888 Fruit Company
Rungis, France
Tel: +33 145603640
Mobiel: +33 609814815

Publication date: 12/13/2010
Author: Katja Watson


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