"Fruits de Ponent: "We hope Perpignan's incidents won't be repeated"

Russian market interesting for Spanish stonefruit in coming weeks

Unlike other years, the stonefruit season has started almost two weeks in advance in most Mediterranean production areas, causing imbalances in the market, as the volumes being marketed right now are similar to those which would correspond to late July, as is the case for Fruits de Ponent. 

"Considerable volumes of stonefruit are arriving to our warehouse, about 1,300 tonnes per day, which requires a very accurate handling," says the director of Fruits de Ponent, Josep Presseguer. 

Regarding quality, Josep points out that it is really satisfactory, despite a significant reduction in weight. "This year, due to climatic factors, the fruit is maturing faster and not staying as long on the trees, which is forcing the industry to sell more quickly."

At the moment, stonefruit prices are generally low, especially for nectarines.

"With the large production volumes in the market and the low level of prices, the industry needs to be 'cold-blooded' to sell the fruit at prices above production costs, especially marketers who do not own large infrastructures. Although it is difficult to make a prediction, we believe the situation will improve later this month given how advanced the harvest is," he says. 

For the next few weeks, Josep Presseguer believes that the Russian market presents interesting opportunities for Spanish stonefruit, since Turkey and Greece will finish earlier than usual, in about ten days. The pressure of the fruit from those countries has been important so far, as they compete with us with a clear logistical advantage."

90% of Fruits de Ponent's stonefruit is intended for the export markets, mainly the UK and Europe, including the Scandinavian and Eastern countries. More distant destinations to be reached by plane are also being considered.

"We believe that stonefruit, because of its shelf life, is not yet suitable to guarantee the same level of quality for distant overseas destinations. For this reason, we are testing some air shipments to Asia, the Middle East and South America, where we believe there is potential if they are willing to pay the price difference that airfreight involves."

Hailstorms in Lleida 
"Our production potential has not been affected so far, as hailstorms occurred in southern Lleida, specifically in the area of Segrià-Garrigues, where about 3,500 hectares have been affected by between 60 and 100%. However, the hail alert continues," he explains. 

Reaction to the French attacks on his stonefruit in Perpignan 
Last weekend, we had to face some regrettable attacks from French growers to trucks carrying Spanish stonefruit, including those from Fruits de Ponent, when they had reached Perpignan.

"Our first reaction was anger, seeing how they were destroying the product of our work, but fortunately it was not a significant volume, as there were just 5 pallets; around 3,000 kilos. What we find unacceptable is for this to take place in a country that, like us, is part of the EU common market," says Josep. 

"They will have to address their internal problems if they believe they have a price crisis and not turn against their foreign competitors. There is surely no other country in Europe importing as many French apples and pears as Spain. They should understand that they are not competitive in the peach and nectarine markets. We cannot forgive these incidents and we'll ask the French government to refund the damages. We hope this doesn't set a precedent. It is unacceptable," concludes Josep Presseguer.

For more information:
Maria Jesús Sisó 
Fruits de Ponent
T: +34 973 791770
M: +34 619 455 115

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