Diego Martínez, of Salix Fruits:

"We are always in season"

Salix Fruits sells fresh fruits all year round. Its main products are citrus fruits, apples, pears and grapes. It has offices in the United States, Argentina, Chile, Brazil, South Africa, Spain and Russia, which allows it to work during both the northern and southern hemisphere seasons and switch from one to the other at the most convenient times. This way, its products are available at any time of the year. In the words of Diego Martínez, head of sales for Europe and South Africa, "we are always in season."

"For example, last season, as soon as we finished with South African citrus, we started with the Spanish. This way, our customers don't need to look for alternative suppliers," he affirms.

Apples offer another example. "With the heat recorded in Europe, Gala apples could not stand long shipments, so we finished earlier with it, and as soon as the season kicked off in the southern hemisphere, we started exporting Royal Gala from Chile, which is what we are doing now," states Martínez.

Its main markets are the Middle East and South East Asia, which have very different preferences, but Salix is able to meet them, as it also offers various options within the same hemisphere. "For example, the Middle East prefers apples with much more colour than South Africa is able to offer. The heat has taken a toll on the colour and size of the Gala from South Africa. The few volumes of high calibre apples reached prices that the Middle East is not willing to pay, so the small calibres go to Asian countries and we supply the large ones from Chile," he explains.

Grapes are another product that has suffered the impact of drought in South Africa, although the company has managed to maintain stable volumes and even to make it grow. "This season has finished earlier than expected, especially for the Red Globe, which is the most demanded in the markets of the Middle East. That is why it is essential to have access to different options; as soon as we have finished in South Africa, we have started shipping Red Globe from Chile." Martínez explained that European grapes did not have enough quality because of the weather conditions, which took a toll on the volumes there, and that they switched to South African fruit as soon as it was possible.

The citrus season is now starting in South Africa. As a result of the warm weather conditions, it is estimated that production volumes will fall by 30%, and calibres will also be smaller. However, the quality will be just as good as usual, according to Martínez. Prices are very high right now, but will stabilise as greater volumes arrive.

Lastly, the production volume of Washington apples has been somewhat smaller than last year, so the company is exporting from other sources, such as Chile or Italy. Prices are high, but they are expected to fall again in the coming weeks.

Asia is becoming a very interesting market for Salix, which has a department focused on this continent. "We've been growing a lot there, especially in Vietnam, Singapore and India. We will continue focusing our efforts in that market," assures Martínez.

Salix Fruits seeks to reach partner relationships with its customers, rather than the traditional supplier-customer relationship. To do this, it has a strategy based on trust and loyalty.

More information:
Diego Martínez
Head of sales - Europe and South Africa
Salix Fruits
T: +27 83 626 1827; +27 21 808 1970
E: diego@salixfruits.com

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