The pear season has had a good start this year. "As the harvest started, it was soon discovered that we were going to have less product than expected. This combined with the considerably lower harvest in Italy, resulted in rising pricing," says Mark Vernooij of Ufruit. The current auction prices, however, worry him. "We really need pear prices to rise."
"The pear prices are far from the level we want. We are experiencing a lot of price pressure from Belgium in particular. The prices at the auctions are not relative to the prices that we have to pay the growers," Mark notes. The current price for the Conference pears (size 55-75mm) is between 60 and 70 cents.
The exporter finds it difficult to put a finger on the cause of this price pressure. "Last year, of course, was a very difficult season. Since then prices have been low throughout the season. Now it may seem like the price is high, but it is still difficult to work out above the cost price at the moment."
"The demand for the pears is wide spread. We are supplying reasonable volumes to the United Kingdom, Scandinavia, Southern and Eastern Europe. Exports to Germany could be a little better and exports to overseas destinations aren't at the levels of last year, " says Mark.
"The advantage that we have this year is that we have pears that are much more workable and tenable than we did last year. At that time, shelf life was a real problem. At the moment we don't have any problems with that. Although the pears look a bit more bronze and coarser, the flavour and the shelf life are extraordinary. All we're waiting on now is the long-awaited price increase," Mark concludes.