Tony Derwael, Bel’Export: “Sector needs to apply more pressure”

“If Russia does not open soon, it could be fatal for many growers”

“Russia needs to open again, or fatalities might occur,” is the appeal from exporter Tony Derwael. “It is important to make this clear to the government, and that we increase pressure. Sales to Russia is not just important for the pear sector, the vegetable and meat sector are also suffering a lot because of this. I see many people remain calm, but something has to happen soon. Let us use our minds, and realise that we just need Russia.”

Russia is missed
Derwael notices that many growers are up to their necks in problems. “Left and right pears apparently still go to Russia indirectly, but that is becoming more difficult. For other products even that is not working, such as for tomatoes. During this period, Russia used to be a welcome customer before the boycott, and lorries full of tomatoes left for this country weekly in May. This is very much missed. Prices are very bad and we are not even in high season yet.”

Quality problems on the pear market
Things are going all right for pears, and they are exported to several European countries. “It is all going well, although more and more quality problems are becoming apparent. This is due to the warm and wet weather before the harvest, which has saturated the pears. I do not know whether we can stretch out the season until the new one starts. I fear a part will have to be thrown out as well. We should have cleared more before the new year. The shelf life for the pears is only very short now. Furthermore, we have competition from New Zealand, which had an excellent harvest of sublime quality this year.” Derwael expects they will be ‘empty’ soon. “Belgian stock is not very large anymore, it will not last much longer than a month. I believe it is a different story in the Netherlands. It is a shame that there is increasingly less transparency for stocks, both in Belgium and the Netherlands. Not everyone is as open when it comes to stock. A few years ago that was regulated by the government for us and that was better. I miss that information.”

Apples to India
“For apples, we had an advantage as large volumes from Belgium went to India this season. A rough estimate is between 500 and 1,000 containers of red apples. We hardly noticed, price-wise, and that was remarkable. This is probably due to the fact that there was too much volume. I expect a stable decrease in the coming period, although I fear for the Golden.”

For more information:
Tony Derwael
Neremstraat 2
3840 Borgloon - België
Tel +32 12 440 551

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