The Valencian persimmon campaign will begin with the first harvests at the end of September. This will also be the first campaign of a new company created by producers who decided to export their product themselves, moved by the disastrous prices achieved in last year's campaign.
"The profitability of persimmon has been very affected in recent campaigns. Last year the kaki was sold at an average of 20 cents per kilo. These prices only generate losses for farmers, "said Eduardo Cifre, the founder of OKA Fruits and the newly created Ribercaqui SAT 663CV. "The previous campaign was decisive for some of us who decided to organize ourselves to market our fruit ourselves, which lead to the creation of SAT Ribercaqui," he added.
This year, the sector expects the harvest volume will decrease by more than 40% in the main areas of production, due to frost and hail. "We expected to harvest around 3 million kilos of kaki, but the last hailstones have reduced our production to around 2 million kilos. Thus, we believe that this year producers don't have to be in a hurry to sell their persimmon. The average price at the start of this campaign stands between 37 and 42 cents, which is quite acceptable, and I don't think it will fall as the campaign progresses, quite the opposite, I think it will increase as the Christmas period approaches. I think it is important to wait to avoid saturating the market at specific moments to protect prices and prevent businesses from speculating with our product," said Eduardo Cifres.
"You can't just wait for someone to come and buy your fruit"
In the beginning, Ribercaqui was designed to assist farmers in their businesses with stores, to establish contacts between the producer and the stores, close worthy contracts for both parties, force them to weigh all the fruit to be sold, and avoid commissions with intermediaries, among other things.
"When we opened our office, both producers and trading companies began to visit us. Then we received the visit of the owner of Frutas Gimenez, from Burriana (Castellon), a company that has recently made a heavy investment in infrastructure for the handling and packaging of persimmon, but needed a supply of fruit, something that we could offer. That's when we decided that we could start marketing our fruit ourselves. This allows us to manage real costs, we pay for the manipulation of our fruit and we have access to all the information," he said.. "We are very proud to have last generation calibration, selection, and packaging technology for persimmon, cold rooms, and controlled atmosphere. The calibrators work with rafts of water in which the fruit is submerged, so there is no kind of friction."
"We believe that the only way to get decent prices for our fruit is to market it ourselves. At the beginning we were only 6 partners and now we are more than 73. We can be very competitive and agile because we don't have the fixed costs that the large marketers have due to their infrastructures and commercial organizations. We are open to any farmer who wants to join us in this project. We believe that there has to be a change of mentality. You can't just wait for someone to come and buy your fruit. You have to go out to the market to defend your product, "the producer said.
One of the company's objectives is the opening of new markets that still don't know the persimmon, such as Denmark, where they have already established contact with the most important trader in the country.
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