Current chicory market prices are dismal. "I expected them to be much better," says Dennis Blankendaal of Frysk Witlof in the Netherlands. He's among the largest chicory growers in Europe. "Auction prices are between €0.30 and €0.50 at the moment. That's very moderate."
"The product is of good quality. It's also easy to get good yields. But I think there's simply too much chicory on the market. Hopefully, prices will climb again this month. Last year around this time, prices shot up. That was because of COVID-19. It might've been because people were stockpiling. There's currently almost no market for red chicory. That's because it's a true hospitality product."
Frysk Witlof harvests between 250 and 280 hectares of chicory annually. These are cultivated in the Netherlands and Belgium. That makes it the largest farm of its kind in the Netherlands. The company has just completed a large-scale new building project. It includes 12 new growing rooms and cost around €3 million. The project consists of both conversion and new construction.
"We're now adjusting the temperatures and preparing for the increased capacity," says Dennis. "That's for the root-chilling period and warmer summers. We can also directly connect the eight new growing cells. We plan to add these at the beginning of next year. We need that extra surface area. We must be able to harvest at a calmer pace. And, thus, maintain better control of the demand."
The grower thinks there's certainly room for this expansion on the market. "Many farmers have no successors. So a lot of the smaller ones quit. If you want to keep going, there's only one option - keep going. We're very confident about the future. If you don't believe in what you're doing, you're no entrepreneur. But sometimes that means low prices, as we have now," Dennis concludes.
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