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Galilee Export leverages power of growers to benefit growers

Tamir Porat (CEO MiloPRI) and Oded Jacobson (CEO Galilee Export)

As the export marketing company of Milouot (25 kibutzes cooperative in the Western Galilee), Galilee Export, since its inception two years ago, has worked for the betterment of its growers. Formed in the wake of Agrexco's dissolution, it is now one of Israel's top three exporters and is one of the country's largest producers of citrus and avocados.

Tamir Porat shows the cool store for the avocadoes

“After Agrexco, the growers decided that they'd never leave the marketing of their crops to somebody else,” explained Galilee Export's CEO Oded, Milouot the holding growers company, established the last link in the chain in order to make the integration from the production to the shelf in one hand as they are doing in others areas. Galilee export established to make it happened, such “In the ensuing two years, they've taken on additional growers, expanded their product line and grown from a company that does $70 million in business a year to one that does $100 million in business a year – and it's done it all with the best interest of its growers in mind.

“We utilize the power of volume in doing everything together,” said Oded. “We use size as an advantage to cut overhead like IT services, or transportation, but, in the end, we in Galilee Export, are only focused on marketing products for the export market.” With every branch of the company focused on its respective duty, Oded believes the system works well. But to make sure everyone's pulling in the same direction, there's a weekly meeting to coordinate efforts.

These bins are full of the crop that comes from the grower to the packhouse

“Milouot also have Galilee Local Market,” said Oded. “We coordinate to see how much to sell in export and how much to sell on the local market, and the main goal is always to get the best return for the growers, which are the shareholders, and not private investor .” For their biggest commodity, avocados, about half of their 36,000 ton annual production is exported. That comes from roughly 2,000 hectares of avocado trees, which is growing at a rate of about 50 hectares a year. Their annual citrus production of 20,000 tonnes comes from 200 hectares, and the rest of their annual 60,000 ton production is rounded off by smaller quantities of pomegranates, lychee, sharon fruit, mangos, carrots, medjool dates and peppers. Oded explained that the last commodity is a necessity if one wants to do business in Russia, and with Russia being one of their main export destinations, peppers are a must. While about a quarter of their exports go to Russia, 20 percent go to France, 20 percent go to the U.K. and 15 percent go to Scandinavia. Though that trading ratio is something Oded said he'd like to change.

In the packhouse the avocadoes are washed and sorted. They are planning to extend this packing house.

“Most growth is coming from Russia, but it's risky because you can't always secure payment there,” said Oded. “We're only two years in, so we're still trying to find new markets, like South Africa, Senegal and the Ivory Coast.” At the same time, they're focusing on European markets like Germany, where demand for avocados has been exceptionally high.

“There's great demand in Germany for avocados,” said Oded. “We're trying to keep up, but there's more demand than there are supplies.” Most of that demand has been for Hass avocados, though Milouot does have supplies of green-skinned avocados for the domestic market.

For more information:
Oded Jacobson
Galilee Export
Tel: +972 365 390 12

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