There is currently a high demand for Dutch pears. "This began several months ago in Eastern Europe when they had shortages. Now, an incredible number of well-priced, unsorted, boxed fruit is still being sold," says Erik Kieftenburg of MJ Pronk in Zwaagdijk, the Netherlands.
"Last year, we had to throw away the last fruit. That will not happen this year. We might make it through the year. But we will have to spread it very thin. That goes for Conference pears. Elstars are, however, also making good progress. Sales were reasonable until recently. Now, overseas and local buyers are beginning to become interested."
Erik does not rule out further price increases. "Shortages are starting, so prices will rise further. There are import apples from, say, Chile on the market. But these are expensive. And the whole story has a positive aspect. Dutch apples are of good quality. Last year, there were many quality issues with both Conference and Elstar. Not this year," he says.
"The question is what effect the cold spring will have on the new crop. The early hail's damage is not immediately evident with Conferences. But you can see it with Comice pears. There is also wind damage here and there. About 80% of plum tree blossoms are gone. These do not have to be pruned this year. We are not expecting a full Kordia cherry harvest, either. There are, however, many red currants hanging on the bushes," concludes Erik.