Governments throughout Europe are taking measures to curb the spread of the coronavirus. Dutch fairtrade fruit importer, Agrofair, is, therefore, seeing a rising demand for bananas. This is due to hoarding behavior. This behavior is taking place in the various countries in which this virus has taken hold.
An affiliated grower with Jurien Lelarge, a QC controller at Agrofair.
“It seems that, at the moment, people are finding solace in healthy foods," says Frank Vermeersch of Agrofair. “Bananas are a part of this, and some people even ascribe medicinal qualities to this fruit. Demand is currently rising to unprecedented heights. It feels a bit distasteful to see such good numbers building up in these uncertain times."
"This growth is good for us. Before this outbreak, we had to deal with logistical issues. There was general congestion in the ports. Storms at sea also delayed our supply. That seems to be over for now. There is currently also no shortage of reefer containers. These are needed to bring our fairtrade bananas from South America to Europe," says Frank.
Stock is moving fast, but there are, currently, no shortages in sight.
Frank is seeing a sharp increase in the demand for bananas. He does, however, emphasize that he does not know what the situation is with other fruit and vegetables. “We do 90% of our trade in bananas. But, I do not imagine this is the case with other wholesalers too. We have seen demand climb in, especially, the European market. Things are quiet in our other sales markets, such as Oceania, for now. But, that could change at the drop of a hat."
A few weeks ago, this was no problem - a visit to Agrofair.
“This boom is certainly affecting spot prices," says Frank. “We, however, work entirely on a contract basis. We get fair prices for our farmers. We also make sustainable agreements with our clients. We can, therefore, not increase prices. We also do not want to do this at all. But, I cannot say how things are going with conventional bananas. The demand for that product will grow too. It is difficult to predict what will happen. The banana market remains a very dynamic sector,” Frank concludes.