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Tony Derwael (Bel’Export) advises Belgian top fruit growers to clear in time”

“A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush”

The Belgian apple season started with a 70 per cent lower harvest, and stocks are now also negligible. “Within a few weeks, it’ll be over for the apples,” says Tony Derwael of Bel’Export. He talks about an exceptional season. “For this kind of scarcity, we’d have to go back to 1991. Except prices then were much higher than they are now. Apples had prices of 1.50 euro then, but we can’t realise these now. There was more speculation then as well, and we now have to clear more for quality reasons. That’s therefore my advice to Belgian top fruit growers. A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush.”

The price of Jonagold apples is currently around one euro. “So that’s not too bad, but if all the stocks were as low as in Belgium, prices would have been much higher. Growers with half a harvest have had a better year than previously, but for growers with a harvest of 20 per cent, the situation is catastrophic. The Netherlands clearly has more apples. Stocks in Germany, however, are much lower,” Tony says. According to the exporter, the Belgian apples mostly find their way on the domestic market, and there’s hardly any export.

Pear stocks are also lower in Belgium. “We started the season with 20 per cent less pears, and sales were similar to previous years. We’ll have a few months left. The problem with Belgian pears is that shelf life isn’t as good due to a higher sugar content. That’s different from the Dutch pears,” Tony says. He mentions the pear prices, which vary from 60 to 80 cent, which is acceptable. “Most of the Belgian pears still end up on the Russian market. The UK and Germany are also in our top three.”

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

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