It’s early in the season, but citrus fruits in Israel are being harvested and the first wave of produce is finding its way into the supermarkets. Betsalel Ohana from Planet Israel Export claims the season is looking good, with good prices and great quality.
For Planet Israel, the Star Ruby Red Grapefruit is the main product, though they’ve rebranded it to ‘Sunrise’. One might say that’s a smart move, as it makes the product from Israel recognizable. Betsalel Ohana, export manager for Planet Israel, claims the fact that the citrus comes from Israel is enough to get good prices: “Compared to Spain and Egypt are prices are slightly higher, but this has everything to do with the high quality of our produce and the increasing demand for it. Fruits from Israel are basically a brand themselves, which helps with adding value to our citrus.”
Besides the ‘Sunrise’ Grapefruit, Planet Israel’s most popular citrus are the Sweetie Green Grapefruit and the renowned Orri Mandarin. These products travel mostly to the East, according to Ohana: “Most of our products are exported to China, Hong Kong and Singapore. We would like to expand our business towards Europe at some point, like Eastern Europe. Russia also calls us every now and then, so it’s another market we can explore if we want to.”
Planet Israel is growing every year. Although the estimate of exported citrus for the company is put at hundreds of tons, Ohana expects growth every season. This is needed as customers have high expectations: “What makes our citrus wanted is the fact we go the extra mile for our clients. They might require specific sizes or custom packaging. We provide this service where we can. We also hope our other products like the avocado, pomegranate, persimmon and even our concentrated orange juice will pick up in volume the upcoming years. The citrus season has only just started and will last until approximately May, so there are still quite a few months of hard work ahead of us.”