"Shipping to Hong Kong is no longer enough"

Spanish cherries expect great competition from Turkey

The lack of cold temperatures during the months of November and December in Spain's cherry producing areas will result in a delay in the harvest of between 10 and 15 days, with the exception of the extra-early area of Mequinenza, in Fraga. "We expect to harvest the first cherries on 15 April, by which time we expect them to have reached the desired quality," affirms Javier de Pablo, manager of Fruit Luxury.

Furthermore, prospects point to a fall in the production volume of early varieties, as well as high prices, given the good market conditions. If things don't change, April could be a rainy month and this may be the biggest threat this season.

The Huesca-based company is specialised in the production and sale of cherries, with both greenhouse and open ground crops. "The quality of greenhouse and open ground cherries is very similar," affirms Javier de Pablo. "The difference lies in the earliness of the heated greenhouse production, since in addition to the very good prices that the first batches reach, they allow us to position ourselves in the market before our competitors and stay there the rest of the campaign."

"We export our cherries mainly to supermarket chains in the UK and wholesale markets of France, Germany, Italy, Switzerland and Belgium and the Netherlands. Our shipments to the Netherlands are growing smaller and smaller because this market is mainly a re-exporter and we prefer to deal directly with our destination markets," he points out.

Shipping to Hong Kong is no longer enough
Luxury Fruit also exports to Hong Kong and is waiting to open the Chinese market. "Shipping to Hong Kong is no longer enough for the export of cherries in general and it would be very interesting to be able to deal directly with the markets of major Chinese cities. The truth is that both Spanish exporters and Chinese importers are keen on the approval of the necessary protocol to be able to start doing business, since Spain is the earliest producer of the northern hemisphere and is able to deliver premium quality for these demanding markets, where we would compete on equal terms with the US when it comes to quality," explains the exporter.

"I do not understand why the Spanish authorities have focused so much on stone fruits like peaches, nectarines and plums, when cherries are the product that could yield the highest profits, especially the earliest varieties, given how highly appreciated the product is in this country," he adds. "However, we must also say that China is still an unstable and unpredictable market."

The Russian veto might take the biggest toll this year
So far, according to the expert, the Russian veto has not had a significant impact on the sale of cherries; however, this year things could change significantly after the Russian veto imposed on Turkey, one of its main suppliers.

"Although Turkey could ship cherries to China this year, it no longer has access to Russia, its main market so far. As a result, Turkey could be looking for alternative destinations for its cherries in the European market, so we expect the Turkish competition to be very strong."

For more information: 
Javier de Pablo
Fruit Luxury
T: +34 630 870 755

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