Eduardo Cifre, of Oka Fruits Export:

"The prospects for kakis were very good a few years ago"

The kaki campaign is approaching its final stages in the Ribera del Xúquer, in Valencia, the crop's main production area in Spain. This season has been marked by occasional moments of prices under pressure and by a frost that drastically changed the course of the campaign, as reported by Eduardo Cifre, director of Oka Fruits Export, a young company that lost all the production that was still on the trees in early December.

Eduardo Cifre, with his father, at the kaki fields.

"The prospects for kakis were very good a few years ago, but now there is a lot of competition in the market with other producers. When we started selling our first crops, a kilo of kakis was sold for between 1.70 and 2.00 Euro. This campaign we have received about 0.30 Euro per kilo for some shipments. There are producers who had to leave their kakis on the trees, as they were unable to sell them. The production has grown a lot, not only in Spain, but also in Portugal and Italy, for example," explains the young entrepreneur.

The situation took a 180 degree turn when, in the first week of December, the cold waves froze around 30% of what was left to be harvested in La Ribera del Xúquer, where Oka Fruits Export has its plantations. "The frosts hit us full on, and all the kakis we were saving were spoiled. Its market price has shot up, although we have not been able to benefit from it," he says. "Fortunately, we received insurance payments," he adds.

The Valencian company also produces and markets its own Navel oranges, which are having a good campaign this year. "The orange campaign is being very good in terms of prices. The prices are so good that we have sold the fruit directly in the field."

"We are strongly focused on quality, since we do not have large volumes; we are still small. We have our own sorting and packaging line, all handled manually by our operators," explains Eduardo Cifre. "We work mostly with 4.5 kilo boxes of kakis, with calibres between 12 and 24."

Although Oka Fruits Export started shipping only to the United Kingdom, they have diversified their destinations, reaching wholesale markets of the Netherlands, France, Spain, Germany and some customers in Singapore. "We are interested in introducing ourselves to Asian markets, where there are importers who appreciate quality fruit. They are generally very serious and honest people when it comes to doing business."

"Looking ahead to the next campaign, we want to change the image of the packaging, become more efficient and expand our commercial network. We don't rule anyone out; we want to work with all kinds of clients. From 7 to 9 February, we will attend the Berlin fair, Fruit Logistica," concludes Eduardo Cifre.

For more information:
Eduardo Cifre Sánchez
Oka Fruits Export
+44 744 743 0047 (UK)
+34 639 628 670 (Spain)

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