Last year was a difficult year for pears in the Netherlands. Gerard Pronk was optimistic about the new season. Pronk is from a fruit growing and sorting company of the same name. This business is located in the Dutch municipality of Zwaagdijk. But, in mid-August, strong winds swept through the region. This has caused a significant headache for the pear farmer.
"At my farm, 10 to 20% of the pears were lying on the ground. Another 20% of the volume was damaged. This damage ranged from stripes to slightly rough patches. All the growers in the area were hit. There are even farmers where 30-35% of the pears were blown to the ground. A further 30% of the fruit was damaged," Gerard says.
"That was, of course, a considerable let-down, so close to the start of the season. You hope for nice pears and better prices. That was, originally, looking good. But, the race is not over. The Class II pears may still become more expensive," says the grower, hopefully.
"Other than that, the pears are of good quality, although there are no top productions. Market conditions are also favorable. A low harvest was already expected. I hear from growers that less is being picked everywhere."
"The situation in Italy is well-known. That offers opportunities for exports to the German market. We need that positive atmosphere now. Otherwise, there is no more pleasure in it," Pronk continues.
Pronk is also the chairman of the Coforta cooperative. He sells all his pears to The Greenery. "They start their programs sometime during the season."
When asked about his opinion regarding setting up top fruit future markets, Gerard answers, "I consider every initiative that promotes the mood and trade as positive. I, personally, cannot judge the future markets' effects so well yet."
"I do, however, find it surprising that there is a 'repair possibility' at the end of the year. What would be the advantage of that?"