“After the endive market's good period, it's now slumped. The weather's been nice for two weeks. That's affected the market considerably, both in volume and price," says Charles Cattoir of Primalof in Belgium. "Nevertheless, this dip isn't abnormal. The market usually drops when temperatures rise above 20°C. I think most companies in our sector are prepared for that. We've had a very busy period. Now we actually have the time to maintain our machines. And invest in the coming season."
Charles is satisfied with the past year or two. "There were good volumes sold at fair prices. Our sector genuinely needed a good season. During the season, there was, and still is, a noticeable, desperate pen shortage. Last October and November, significantly fewer pens were harvested. That's affected the market. We were constantly looking for the right balance. We must deliver to the customers who choose us."
“The pens currently in the field have received a lot of water, sometimes too much. Still, things look good so far. Although it's early in the season, and a lot can still happen," Charles says. Primalof makes an estimation based on client demand. They do that pre-sowing. "We want a healthy market balance; otherwise, the sector's doomed. At the same time, customers must be able to count on us."
According to Charles, Primalof has lots of future plans. "We're going to focus on improving the production process, making it more efficient. We're also always looking for innovation within the sector. That's why we talk to suppliers about how they see the future. Soon, we'll install a new sustainable cooling system too. We want to maintain quality and not focus solely on volumes. To do that, you have to think ahead and invest."
"We'll quietly and steadily build up the company, certainly in scope. We'll also prepare ourselves for the coming years. It's important to arm ourselves for the lesser years that may come. The sector can do this together by ensuring there's no oversupply. Endive is, and must remain, a quality product," Charles concludes.