Tal Amit, Israel:

“There is a grapefruit crisis in Europe”

According to Tal Amit, head of Israel’s Plant Production and Marketing Board’s Citrus sector, “there is quite a crisis in grapefruits in the European market at the moment. South Africa had a bumper crop and the market collapsed.” He says this led to very low prices for grapefruit from the Southern Hemisphere.

“We hope that by the time we get to market, stocks will be depleted”, he says. Grapefruit harvesting in Israel starts in mid-September to have this citrus fruit on the shelves by the end of September. “We are optimistic”, he said. “We hope to have a good season with grapefruit, the Jaffa Orri, and our other products.”

Orri Jaffa
The Orri Jaffa was introduced to the Asian markets for the first time last year. “There is a very high demand”, says. “Because we did not have the volumes, less Orri was sent to the East than the year before.”

Most of these easy-peeling mandarins went to traditional markets, says Amit. “France had a 45% share. This variety has become very popular. We started marketing it there more than ten years ago. French consumers well acquainted with this variety. There are very high demand and good prices.” Amit calls the French market one that ‘is less influenced by price.’
The other important export markets for this citrus fruit are North America, with some fruit going to Scandinavia. “Here, especially Norway. In central Europe, we also send fruit to Germany and the Benelux region but nothing like France”, explains Amit. In Asia, Jaffas can be found in China, Japan, Hong Kong, Singapore, and a little in Australia. “We have no access to the Indian market for any of our products at all at the moment”, says Amit.
Bright future
Amit sees only good things on the horizon for the Orri. “I think we have a very good product with Orri Jaffa. It will be very difficult to change consumers taste in this product. This variety is going to stay with us for several years to come.” He also does not consider Spain to be competition. “The market is huge; there is space for all of us."
“Spanish volumes are limited”, he continues. “They cannot expand as they only have license to grow what they have. I am not worried about this. We actually have a good relationship with the Spanish growers.”
He says it is too early to tell what the coming season will hold for the Orri. “We estimate that we will not have the same volumes as the bumper crop of two years ago, but it will also not be as bad as last year. Something in between, I think.”

For more information:
Mr. Tal Amit

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