The last tunnel of strawberries has been picked. Glasshouse cultivation is also slowly drawing to a close. "This means the strawberry supply on the market is increasing," says Philip Van Overbeke of the Belgian strawberry farm, Aardbeien Van Overbeke.
"Prices have been falling for a while now too. At the moment, the prices are far too low to have a profitable crop. I do not expect these prices to increase any time soon. Even with the colder weather. "
“I started farming strawberries about 15-odd years ago. Back then, we saw prices fall at the end of June, every year. This continued for about ten days. The prices would then rise again. Now, we see peaks and troughs throughout the summer months.
"One moment, the prices are too high for traders to sell to anyone. The next, we, as growers, cannot earn anything because of the extremely low prices," adds Philip. “No-one benefits from outliers in the strawberry prices."
Good demand in the summer
During the summer months, Aardbeien Van Overbeke has very little problems with the hot weather. "When you cultivate on substrate, you have very few issues with heat. Production did fall a little. However, we had no quality problems," continues Van Overbeke.
The farmer was also very satisfied with the demand in the summer. "A few months ago, you could find strawberries everywhere. It is different now. The demand is decreasing a little again. People might also have had their fill of strawberries for the year."
Aardbeien Van Overbeke supplies Flandria strawberries to REO Auctioneers. However, 90% of their supply, after high season, is Tomabel strawberries. "We are one of only about ten Flandria strawberries growers that supply REO in the autumn."
"At times, we, however, get a much lower price for our strawberries than our Tomabel colleagues. These prices are sometimes €0.50 to €1 lower per kg. It is a pity that we get less for the same product. We pick nice, top quality strawberries. Just like our Tomabel peers," concludes Philip.