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"Dennis Bartels: "45% less because of frost, but increasing volume himself"

Chilean cherry season started at Fruto del Campo

At the European sales office of Fruto del Campo, in The Netherlands, last week, the first shipment of Chilean cherries arrived from shareholder and producer San Francisco Lo Garces. This week more shipments will arrive, although according to Dennis Bartel, arrivals experience some delay because of strikes by Chilean public servants and the airports.

"The quality of the first cherries are good. The prices are at a reasonably high level, but that is normal for this time of the year. The frost also left its mark at San Francisco Lo Garces. This year we expect to harvest 45% less cherries and with plums, peaches, nectarines and kiwi's even a decrease of 50 - 70%, Dennis tells. In addition to cherries Lo Garces produce top fruit, kiwi's, grapes, apples and citrus. Especially the production area of cherries increases considerably. The company has its own production of 6 million cartons in Chile. They produce fruit on an area of 2,800 HA, of which 1,500 HA under own management and 1,300 HA under contract.

The importer says that the volume of cherries is expected to be larger than last year, after Christmas. "Then during the two weeks before Christmas, which is undoubtedly the busiest period, a large volume was spoiled by rain. This year there is a shortage of early varieties because of frost, but for later in the season more fruit will be available compared to last year."

"Harvesting of the early varieties has been going on for a whilt, but were sold in China at enormous amounts. Of those we saw nothing in Europe during the first weeks. The early varieties are now finished, but it is a somewhat different product because of the quality. Now the stronger, darker varieties will enter the market," Dennis says. "I am positive about the continuation of the season. The demand is good. It will, however, be difficult to receive containers of cherries before Christmas. From January more containers will no doubt arrive."

Fruto del Campo addresses the retail in Northwest Europe. "We work on a program directed basis and as a result have a good idea which volumes we require. The fruit is stored at our logistic partner LBP and packed in 150, 200 or 250 gr. before distribution to our clients," Dennis says. "German retailers are an important market for us. England is a good traditional market and also The Netherlands and Belgium know, especially during the weeks before Christmas, where to find us. Also sales to retailers in Switzerland, Austria and Russia increase every year. Scandinavia is not in the market for Chilean cherries, apparently because of the cold it is not appealing to consume cherries at this time."

Dennis expects to offer Chilean cherries till the end of January. "Finally our aim is to offer cherries all year round. We receive cherries from Canada, Europe, South Africa and Chile and Argentina. There are still short periods in between, but we do whatever is possible to fill these up."

For more information:
Dennis Bartels
Fruto del Campo B.V.
244, Honderdland
2676 LV Maasdijk
Tel: 0031 174 613287

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