The sales of dates just before Ramadan are going briskly, although shipping has become much more expensive due to increased global oil prices. However, for Avi Bar from Mor International in Israel it is the pending full global avocados supply that is worrying him, with both winter and summer supplying countries having products on the world markets.
“Dates are always consumed more during Ramadan. The big population of Muslim people in the Middle and Far East consume dates all year round. At the moment we offer fresh dates from Namibia. We sell dates from Israel in July. There is not really an increase in price. As a result of the ongoing Russian war in Ukraine the impact of the increase in fuel and shipping costs is a challenge.
“We try to absorb the increase in logistics costs as much as we can. There is no target but we make sure the grower will not lose money. We need to find the balance between customer and producer needs amidst the increased logistics costs,” says Bar.
Mor International, based in Gelil Yam Israel, currently export around 5-7 tons of dates per week via airfreight, for 4 to 6 weeks, despite it being very expensive. “Our sources of origin of products are not limited to Israel, although it is a big sourcing market, we work all over the world. We also export avocados from Kenya. We will soon start exporting mangoes from Porto Rico then Senegal and then move to Israel,” says Bar.
Oversupply of avocados in world market
Bar says the Kenyan government’s recent ban on avocado exports delayed the start of their season. “On the one hand it was very positive of the government authorities in Kenya in their aim to control the quality, to have the right sizes exported and to improve their country’s reputation. It is good for all of us marketers. However, it is already a very tough season for avocados. All the winter suppliers are still active, they will have supply for another of couple of weeks. This while the summer suppliers - Peru, South Africa and Kenya - have started too. There is an oversupply going into the market. Another factor is the impact of the Russian war in Ukraine. It is not just an oversupply of volumes on the world market, but fruit destined for those markets being diverted, with more volumes going to the European market. This creates more challenges for the avocado season.
“This year the delay to the start of Kenya's season should have a positive impact on quality, but on the other hand it will reach a very over supplied market. Kenya is normally a bit earlier than Peru, the biggest supplier, however this year they will be on the market at the same time. The fight will be massive. In the end it will have an impact on the prices,” explained Bar.
Looking forward to face-to-face meetings in Berlin
“I have travelled only once to go and see customers over the past few years. We look forward to the exhibition in Berlin, although it will be a bit more limited than in previous years. We hear from customers and suppliers that a lot of them are not attending, there is somewhat mixed feelings. We are prepared and have a lot of meetings already arranged. After two and a half years it is time to meet our customers in person. While Zoom is a nice technology, nothing replaces eye to eye contact,” says Bar.