"The corona crisis has caused us a lot of inconvenience. We had to adjust the machines and the way of working, but it is also very difficult to find staff," says Krist Hamerlinck from Eco Veg. "We work a lot with people from Ukraine, but because the borders are closed, they cannot come. The Polish workers can come, but many are afraid. The Poles are more likely to go to the Netherlands, because the degree of contamination in Belgium seems very high. This is because the calculation is different in Belgium than in the Netherlands. I think the difference in infections between these countries is negligible. However, these are still difficulties that we encounter. "
Sales of organic greenhouse vegetables, on the other hand, are going very smoothly. "The production is good, but the demand is also high, which means that prices are on average higher than normal. We notice that consumption has picked up, because people are sitting at home, cooking for themselves and trying to live a healthier life. That translates into an increased interest in organic products, which is very positive for us, but it may well be that when corona is behind us, the interest in organic slowly fades away. We have also seen this with the dioxin crisis. We are curious about the effect of the corona crisis long-term for the organic sector," says Krist.
"We are still experiencing strong competition for cucumbers from Spain and that is depressing prices. The production of aubergines and cucumbers is very high because of the good weather we have had. The supply of tomatoes, in particular vine tomatoes, is currently somewhat lower. This makes it somewhat difficult to meet the demand. For peppers we are in normal production. Aubergines are selling very smoothly. Prices were very high during the beginning of the season, but since the Spanish aubergine went down there has also been some pressure on our prices. We are now waiting for customers who switch from Spanish to Belgian and Dutch product," concludes Krist.