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Philip van Geest, Van Geest International, the Netherlands

"Easing of COVID-19 rules means renewed UK demand, Brexit paperwork hassle still a sore point"

Trade between the Netherlands and the United Kingdom has been boosted a bit. That's according to Philip van Geest of Van Geest International (VGI). That's thanks to the lifting of (local) lockdowns. The UK's small and medium-sized businesses and hospitality sector are also reopening.

"There's an obvious connection between the UK opening and trade. That might be because the Dutch season is also getting well underway now. Nevertheless, it's nice to see customers ordering in abundance again. Demand for catering-related items is certainly picking up. And the diversity of orders is visibly increasing. More and more sweet peppers and tomatoes are finding their way to Great Britain too. The Dutch products are displacing the lower quality ones from Morocco and Spain."

Philip van Geest

"There's only one downside that negatively affects one's ability to act quickly. That's the time pressure to get all the paperwork and regulations in order. And the customs and Quality Control Bureau approvals. So, next-day delivery orders can often only be taken early the previous day," says Philip.

"If orders come in later, there's a (very) good chance that delivery will take a day longer. There's a huge amount of useless paperwork. It's a joke that this is happening in times of cooperation and globalization. But then again, who are we to judge so much mismanagement? We just deal with it. In this case, politics, especially that of the EU, are useless. Especially to fruit and vegetable exporters."

Sweet peppers
"Red sweet peppers have had a good run in the past two weeks. That's due to low production because of fewer settings. Prices rose from €9.50 to €18 per box. Only to drop to between €10 and €12 per box in the last two days. Yellow sweet peppers were less affected. They peaked at €17.00/17.50 per box. Now they're priced at around €10/box. The orange varieties went for between €11.50 and €12.50 over the past few days. Prices for the green ones have been fluctuating a little. In the past week, they've sold for between €5.50 and €8," Philip continues. 

"Eggplants aren't doing as well. With prices of €2.50 to €3.50/box, these aren't exactly profitable. Ramadan undoubtedly has something to do with this. Demand is much lower than usual. Cucumbers are very cheap and can't be given away. Boxes are going for €1.75-€2.75. There's too much coming onto the market, locally too. That's the only reason."

"TOVs sold very well last week, with prices of €5-€5.25/box. These have now dropped a little, to €4-€4.25. Sales are stable, however," Van Geest continues. "Cherry tomato and cherry truss tomato sales are disastrous. Prices don't yield a third of what's needed to earn a living. Again, there are simply too many of these at the moment."

"Loose tomatoes are selling well. A-grade tomatoes are priced at around €4.75 to €5.50/box. And Bs at €6-€6.75 per box. At about €7 to €8/box, beef tomatoes also performed well. The overall price image is still generally mixed. But we're happy that there's some movement in the trade again," Philip concludes.

For more information:
Philip van Geest
Van Geest International
41 Jogchem van der Houtweg
2678 HA, De Lier, NL
Tel: +31 (0) 174 514 300

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