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Dominiek Keersebilck, REO Veiling on the leek market

Belgium: "We learned from frost this winter"

Leeks are an important product for REO Veiling. Dominiek Keersebilck, commercial director tells about the past winter and the present situation on the market. "The winter was difficult for our growers. Prices were bad in January. After that February with the real cold weather there was a short intense period on the market. Because of the severe frost part of the harvest was damaged and up to
now we are still suffering the results."

"When looking at the figures up to the end of March compared to last year the supply has decreased by about a million kgs. This is mainly due to the month of March when supply was very low: 44 million kgs. In 2010 the volume was
7.2 million kgs." According to the commercial director the average price was at a low level. Looking at the end of March this is 45 cents and last year the price was 53 cents. In 2010 the average price was 91 cents. Consequently this year is really very low.

Quality back where it should be
"At the end of January we were informed that there would be frost in February, but growers did not expect that it would be so severe. A relatively small number covered their products before or during the frost. We learned this season that it is useful and very important that next time everything is covered against frost. There were too many quality problems and damage was considerable. We had a lot of work to supply the market under Flandria trademark. We were successful because despite the problems we did not receive more complaints than usual. Luckily we have seen that the quality is again at a good level. At the moment we will have to wait for the next supply, which will be for storage purposes. I expect that we will change quickly to the young leeks from the hothouses. Probably at the beginning of May, about the same time as other years. This will be young leeks in bundles of 700 grs. From the middle of May we will have sufficient supply in bundles of 900 grs. As far as young leeks from outside are concerned, those leeks were planted at the end of February, beginning of March and are growing. However, the leeks planted later than the middle of March have been growing for a couple of weeks. There is a growing delay on these leeks. Consequently we can come to the conclusion that as far as the young leeks are concerned, these will be available at approximately the same time, but that we may have to wait a little longer for large volumes."  

"There has also been an increase in the supply of leeks over the last few weeks. On Friday 20 April we saw a supply of 350 tons (400 tons including bundles), also prices are increasing. Our growers could not supply for 19 cents in January. The cooler weather also plays a positive role in the situation on the market."
Sales possibilities for far-away destinations
Dominiek mentions, that there is demand for leeks from all over Europe. "In addition also further away destinations, such as Russia. We notice a slow but certain growth in supply in that country. Also in Russia leeks are used more and more as a taste maker in various dishes." Also in other countries outside of Europe Dominiek sees potential markets. "Together with our colleagues of BFV in Limburg we market leeks. They have experience with pears to far away destinations and we now look at the possibilities to sell leeks in Asian countries. A lot of work is still involved in the area of, for instance, phytosanitary requirements."

For more information:
REO Veiling
Dominiek Keersebilck
101, Oostnieuwkerksesteenweg
B-8800 Roeselare
Tel: +32-51231206
Fax: +32-51231289

Publication date: 4/25/2012


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