After years of working in the Dutch fruit and vegetable trade, Marc de Bruijn moved to Spain a few years ago, where he works for fruit importer Cultivar, which has its headquarters in the wholesale market in Barcelona, as well as five branches in Palma, Seville, Bilbao and Madrid, where Marc works from. For the last few weeks Madrid has been the epicentre of the Corona virus epidemic in Spain. "The situation is still really shaken up here," says the Dutchman.
"We were home for eight weeks. People are still very careful. Everyone adheres to the social distancing rules. You can only go outside for a few times during the day to, for example, go for a run. I am now working from the office, but everyone is required to wear a mask here. It seems like are that the restrictions are going to be loosened a little soon. Madrid, unlike for example Barcelona, is likely to move into phase 1 next week, which means that terraces will open again at 30% capacity. This will cause some trade to pick up on the wholesale market, but that does not apply to all of Spain," says Marc.
Import flows at Cultivar continue to go well for the time being. "We focus on both supermarkets and wholesalers. Sales to supermarkets are still above average. Logically, sales to the wholesale markets are somewhat lower, now that many catering customers have almost completely stopped," says the importer. "The overseas citrus season has started well and the Peruvian avocado season has also started well."
Cultivar is a major player in the air freight of exotics. In fact, with an annual volume of around 9,000 tonnes of air cargo mangoes and 1,500 air cargo papayas, it is the largest European importer in this category. "We still do a lot of air freight, except that there is almost no air freight to Spain at the moment and we divert to the airports of, among others, Brussels and Paris. Sales of air freight mangoes and papayas are booming, despite the sky-high prices."