Sharon Fruit is arriving on the European market. “The first arrival was in week 4, and the last will be in week 7”, says Lior Gal from Galilee Export. “It is a very short season with much lower volumes than usual.”
These lower volumes are due to the heat wave experienced in Israel during the Sharon fruit’s flowering season. “Many of the blossoms fell off”, Lior says. In a previous article, he said, “In a normal year we do about 1 500 tons, just for export”, he says. “So we have about 30% less.”
Now, he adds, “We are getting normal prices. There is still Spanish Sharon fruit, here and there on the European market at the moment. However, some clients prefer the Israeli Sharon fruit as it is sweeter.”
Israel only cultivates the Sharon Fruit variety of persimmon. Spain, on the other hand, has the Kaki Persimmon and the Rojo Brilliante. Spain also prolongs their season every year by a week. “I believe they have bigger volumes every year. They also manage to keep the fruit at a reasonable quality every year”, he says.
Russia is a major client
According to Lior, Galilee Export, which is owned by a cooperative of growers, is almost the only company in Israel exporting Sharon fruit this year. “We are one of the top three companies dealing with Sharon fruit”, he says. Their main clients are the UK, Belgium, and the Netherlands. “We also ship a lot to Russia”, Lior adds.
He previously said that Israel’s primary market for this variety of persimmon is Russia. “That is the only place where our prices are an advantage”. He mentioned that 50% of Galilee Export’s Sharon Fruit goes to Russia. “The other 50% is mainly sent to the Netherlands and the UK.”
“There is usually an increase in demand closer to the Chinese New Year, which is next week. Then there is a little bit of pressure on orders. After that, things return to normal”. He says they have such limited volumes, they will not be exporting to the Far East this year.
Focused on Europe
“We are focusing on Europe”, he explains. “There is also a market in Canada and the US for Israeli Sharon fruit. But, again, because it is such a short season, we did not export any fruit there this year. Next season, will hopefully have more volume and we will be able to ship to those countries again.”
The local market for Sharon fruit is very strong. There is, however, a different demand from the domestic market compared to the export market. “Buyers in the local market likes large sizes. The smaller fruit is exported to Europe, the UK, and Russia. We get good returns on these smaller fruits, thanks to the export market."
“In general, exports are reducing year on year”, says Lior. “This is because fewer growers are cultivating this exotic fruit. When you have less, prices rise in the local Israeli market and this then increases the competition on the export market. We have managed to get good returns for our growers the last few years on the export for smaller and medium-sized fruits. The larger fruits are sold on the local market.”