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Israel: Early rains affects Sharon fruit

Israeli growers of Sharon fruit had to contend with early rains this season. The rains were a factor in the development of Alternaria, a plant pathogen that affects production. But increased domestic demand has made it a good year for marketers of the fruit.

Sharon fruit is the brand name for the Triumph variety of persimmons that are grown in Israel. It's a sweet, seedless variety that has a unique flavor, contain high rate of antioxidants which helps to prevent heart diseases, contain nutritional fibers and rich in vitamins A and C. Most production is based in Israel, Spain and South Africa.

“We have farms and packing houses in South Africa because they have an opposite season to ours,” said Eldad Engelberg of Mor International. “With what we have in Israel and South Africa, we are able to offer Sharon fruit almost throughout the entire year.”

This season was hit by early rains, Engelberg said, which affected the fruits.

“Because of the early rains, the fruit developed Alternaria, which influenced the fruit,” he said, “and we had smaller quantities than anticipated.” He added that exporters and growers have also enjoyed good prices, and with strong domestic demand, many marketers have had to decide whether to export fruit or keep it for domestic consumption.

“Consumption in Israel is very high,” he said. “It's been so high that it has started to compete with the export market this year. So we have had to calculate whether we'll get more money by exporting Sharon Fruits or keeping it in Israel.” Mor is one of the largest growers of Sharon fruit in Israel and supply more than 50% of the domestic Supermarkets demand. It also exported about 5,000 tons of fruit which is 50% of the total export from Israel. Mor exports all over the world for the last 18 years.

Rising domestic demand has added pressure to focus locally rather than on export, something which might be compounded by competition from Spanish. Because Spanish fruit are lower in cost, the Israeli export season is highly influenced by the competition.

“The Spanish season is from October to January,” said Engelberg, “and because they come with massive quantity's and lowers prices, we don't enter the market until their season is over. But if they are able to extend their season, that will affect us. But he's quick to add that Israeli growers still enjoy some advantages, mainly in January to March

“The advantage we have in Israel is that we're in a very good location,” he said, “ we can send fruit to Europe, Russia, Far East and the United States. So we have a lot of possibilities.” we also enjoy our technology which helps us to increase the fruit shelf life and storage.

For more information:
Eldad Engelberg
Tel: +972-54-676-4782

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