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General manager Paul Demyttenaere:

“Good year for Belgian REO Veiling”

This year, the REO Veiling in Roeselare, Belgium, achieved its third-highest turnover ever with €175 million, and it celebrated its 75th anniversary as well. General manager Paul Demyttenaere looks back.

2017 in figures
“We had a fairly good year. Compared to last year, when turnover amounted to €177 million, turnover remained practically the same. The same is true for product volume. In 2017, we traded 39.5 million packaging; in 2016 this was almost 40 million.”

“We can divide 2017 into three parts. The first four months profited from the bad harvests in Southern Europe due to the extreme winter weather. This opened up plenty of options for our winter vegetables, leafy vegetables and for illuminated productions under glass. From May until August, the extreme dry weather circumstances caused additional pressure on our horticultural companies. This was made even more difficult due to the ban on pumping up surface water to get these productions through the drought in West-Flanders. In the second half of the year, nature corrected itself and this resulted in a disproportionately good harvest of most of the storage products. At the end of the year, production increased considerably, and this put pressure on the annual turnover of the REO Veiling.”

Leek as driving force
“Leek is good for an annual turnover of €30.7 million, and it’s our biggest product because of that. Tomato also ends the year with a turnover just shy of €30 million. The anticipated product growth for tomatoes in the coming season is gradually making this the biggest product of the REO Veiling. This is followed by strawberries and soft fruit, mushrooms, chicory and greenhouse lettuce. Strawberries and soft fruit have shown a permanent growth in the past ten years, and partially caused the reconversion for greenhouse lettuce. This trend will also continue in 2018. Mushrooms and chicory remain fairly constant in our supply, and ensure necessary diversification. For mushrooms, the trend for specialities and organic production continues. It’s noticeable that in the past year, courgette has become bigger than cucumber regarding production. The strong sales of courgettes in the second half of the year had a considerable impact on this. On the other hand, the past year was an unremarkable cucumber year.”

Left: Paul Demyttenaere, right: some of REO Veiling’s most important products.

France is our natural second domestic market
“The REO Veiling is located close to the border between France and Belgium. In past years, additional focus has been placed on this natural second domestic market. Quite a number of our growers have outdoor vegetable productions just over the border. We’re trying to play this trump card while keeping in mind the French consumers’ chauvinism. New for the coming year is that we’re expanding our own area of tomatoes by seven million kilograms of French tomatoes grown in Northern France. Besides, we’ll continue to expand the local horticultural cooperative in Picardy, which will soon be responsible for stocking Del Monte’s new branch. These developments ensure the continued anchoring on this essential sales market for REO Veiling.”

Winter needed
“Keeping in mind the current production of winter vegetables, we’re looking forward to a period of proper winter weather in Europe. The right weather in the right season can sometimes perform miracles. After all, as soon as temperatures drop, clock prices for most winter vegetables rise. This is what growers in this region are hoping for.”

For more information: 
REO Veiling
Oostnieuwkerksesteenweg 101 
8800 Roeselare, Belgium
Tel: +32 (0)51 231 211
Fax: +32 (0)51 231 289

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