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"Guido Peeters: "Growers have become managers"

Gigema sorts about 6 million kg of top fruit annually

The family company Gigema was started by Guido Peeters and Maggy Hermans in 2000. The main activity of Gigema is sorting and packing apples and pears. 25,000 kg can be sorted daily and in addition there is capacity to pack 20,000 kg. The business is run by Guido Peeters, his wife Maggy Hermans and son Gert.



Extension, extra 1,5 million storage
Since 2010, Gigema has its own location fitted with 1,000 tons of ULO-storage. We ourselves have an area of 67 HA apples and pears. We restructured our fruit company into a partnership by the name of Herpee. We do not export our products ourselves. That always goes through the intermediate trade. They supply supermarkets locally and abroad. According to Gert they thought about exporting themselves. "But we decided not to do this. Because then we would be in the way of our own clients. Also exporting is full of risks and everybody has his own specialty." Guido tells that they sort about 6 million kg of top fruit annually. We have our permanent customers, but the volume increases each year. In our own fruit company an increasing volume is also noticeable. Therefore we are planning a new extension for next year by building ULO-cells for an extra 1.5 million kg own storage. Loading bays will also be built."



According to Guido there is a marked increase in packings. Years ago there was only the standard black dish and now every supermarket has its own dish. Differences in packings appear more and more. One can hardly keep up. We had to increase our stock for the clients and we supply according to the demand of the client." Guido finds Smartfresh an important development in the fruit cultivation. "That is really top! We tested the early Corina and looking at the results one would advise that Smartfresh is to become the standard procedure. It makes an enormous difference in the display."

Difference

"As a packing and sorting company we are different because we are always available for the client and make sure that they will come back. We also find it very important the keep the quality high. In the sorting department between 15 and 20 people are employed and in packing this is dependent on the order. Also with pressure in the one department we can move people from another department." Guido mentions that it is clear immediately whether the prices for fruit are good. "When prices are high producers are more in favour of having their products sorted, when prices are less then they rather sell from storage outside the orchard. It is striking that in difficult years clients do not economize on packings, but are rather inclined to choose a packing, which is even more appealing."



Guido mentions that the cultivation of fruit has become a lot more complicated compared to years ago. "Then it was easy for the man, who had not studied. To-day this is impossible. One must have followed various courses to be a fruit grower, otherwise one does not count. Also additional schooling every now and then. Otherwise the spraying permit will be revoked. It is becoming more difficult. It is not just apples and pears which are involved. A lot more has to be attended to. Growers have become managers."
 
In the neighbourhood of Sint-Truiden there are many growers. "Many of them are of a certain age and there is little continuation" according to Guido. "We are happy that our son also works in our company. This season Gigema expect a good fruit harvest. The quality of the pears is very beautiful. The size could have been a little bigger though. Looking at the future we certainly expect to grow even more."

For more in formation:
Gigema bvba
257, Zepperenweg
3800 Sint-Truiden
Tel: 011 / 67 38 67
Fax: 011 / 67 48 67
info@gigema.be
www.gigema.be





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