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Israeli melon exporters could profit from seasonal gap
“We sent our first container of Galia melons this season to Europe, and it should be unloaded this week,” said Oron Ziv of Befresh Europe. “The Galia melon crop looks promising, and we hope to have a good window for our melons.” The window he mentioned is the gap in supplies of melons in Europe that occurs between the end of the Spanish season and the beginning of the Brazilian season. The gap usually lasts between five and six weeks, and Israeli exporters are usually well-positioned to take advantage of it. It's not clear, however, how much fruit will make it to Europe from Israel, as the domestic market in Israel is currently strong. Ziv noted that, at least for Befresh, most of their melon exports will go to programs already established with Euroepan supermarkets and very little will go to the open market there.
The window for citrus exports has also opened up for Israeli exporters, with pomelos being the first product shipped. Grapefruit will follow shortly, and Ziv expects there to be a very receptive market for citrus in Europe this season.
“The market is empty right now,” explained Ziv. “I'm not sure what happened, but prices over the summer were so low that South African exporters stopped shipping fruit, since it didn't make sense to ship with prices being so low. But the situation changed about three weeks ago, and prices are now up.” With few supplies available, there has appeared a window of opportunity for Israeli exporters that will be open until fruit from Turkey and Florida becomes available. Another window of opportunity has been the ban that Russia placed on European goods. That's made it possible for Israeli exporters to increase their business in Russia, but only if the proper contacts have already been made.
“There is a very strong demand now in Russia, not just for citrus, but for many products,” said Ziv. “Most Israeli exporters are already working in Russia and they know their way around. There will be higher prices because of higher demand, but the big thing is what will happen when the winter season comes, when the main export season starts.”
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