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Grapes on their way
Peruvian blueberries arrive in UK via seafreight
Cullum expects to have three more weeks of citrus arrivals from Peru, predominantly Nadorcotts, also some Honey tangerines. "We have dropped from 500 tonnes per week to 300 tonnes for the last 3 weeks, this will conclude what was an average volume season."
"Most people will talk about a good citrus season because they have a range which includes South African citrus, and due to the weak currency the South Africans have had a very easy season from that perspective, from Peru we are Dollar based so it has been a lot harder for us to compete against them," explains Cullum.
"We deal mostly with easy peelers, the satsuma season had a tough start as the northern hemisphere Nadorcott lasted a long time so they come on to a relatively full market, mid to late season was relatively good. For the Nadorcotts it has been very good, the fruit was just in and out, this was helped by good eating quality."
The first container from Peru arrived at Pacific Produce last week, Cullum says that their point of difference is that they are sea freighting to Europe while other southern hemisphere guys are airfreighting, "We have another container this week and expect one or two each week for the rest of the season. When Peruvian blueberries start we enter the market with firm good quality new season blueberries, while the northern hemisphere blueberries are at the end of their season and are beginning to decline in quality. It can be difficult to reach optimum prices in the first couple of weeks as the northern hemisphere fruit is being sold cheaply. The majority of the shipments so far have gone to North America as the market there is very short, over the course of the next few years we intend to increase volumes and are planting a lot just now."
Theoretically Peru can produce 12 months of the year, but Cullum says that they won't, though the majority of the production will be aimed at this window, August to November, they will continue through December to March but with less volume.
With increasing planting also taking place in South Africa, Cullum reckons it will come down to who can be most efficient in getting the product out and this may come down to volumes and how accurately they can time it. "South African blueberries have just arrived but by air, whereas Peru is there with seafreighted fruit, but saying that, global consumption is still heavily on the rise and he believes there is room on the market for everyone, and there are also the Chinese and North American markets. Prices will come down eventually which will fuel the increase in consumption even more."
Pacific Produce have just started loading in Peru from Piura in the north. That will continue till early December, first will be Globe and the seedless varieties just started last week. Crimson and Sugraone are also starting. Pacific Produce are predominately programming with retailers in the UK.
"We are looking to fill the gap when Greece finish with whites and Spain finish on reds, last year was a crazy market because those countries finished early, Italy as well, I don't think it will be as problematic as last year," explains Cullum.
"Last year the market was on fire until Namibia shipped and came with huge volumes then the market collapsed. What we really want is no crazy highs and lows. It should be more balanced this year, the northern hemisphere should go for longer and Brazil should do well as the currency is very low."
The North American market is looking very attractive because they will finish two weeks early with whites, so according to Cullum, Peruvian grapes will be in demand, they normally send a lot there but usually post Christmas, but this year they will send a month earlier.
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