"Less quality in the European market"

Europe: Increasingly more South African citrus going to the Middle and Far East for a set price

The first South-African mandarins arrived a few weeks ago on to the European market. "The Clemenules season is going to continue for the next few weeks. Right now other varieties are arriving such as the Scarlet, followed by the later varieties of Clementines, such as Nadercott and Clemen-Gold," reports an importer. According to him, it is not as easy for so called 'cowboys' to import a container. "Nowadays you need to have an agreement with a supermarket. On the other hand they can sometimes be a little naive in South Africa and its quite often good enough as long as they have the money in hand. I sometimes get the impression that a lot of business is sent to large companies, who do have the financial means, but don't always have the right customers."
"Prices have been pretty good for South-African citrus fruits in the last few years. The prices are good when the supply is well arranged. However, if there are too many, the prices take a nose dive. I saw that happen last summer when the citrus prices were nothing to write home about," reflects the trader. "Over the last few years more South African citrus fruits are going to countries such as Russia, Japan, China and Hong Kong with a set price. A majority of these buyers pay 70 to 90% in advance on FOB conditions (free on board) and you see, for example, that the United States has been importing much more South African citrus, especially Valencia's, in the last few years. The problem with this is that we get a lower quality product in the Netherlands. We just can't keep up with those prices here in the Netherlands. European supermarkets are not as quick to commit. There are a lot of providers and the purchasing power of the European retailers remains considerably strong in this displaced market."

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