"Kris Wouters: 'Only pears are selling"

Belgium: “Huge price differences between Polish and Belgian apples”

The top fruit market is still going smoothly. “It’s just not the year to do anything crazy,” says Kris Wouters of Wouters Fruit. “Clearly, there’s less fruit on European markets. Pears seem to be going to Russia fairly easy. Still, sales are good in spite of the higher prices. We are moving a bit more cautious though. Money is much more of an issue. A container costs double than a year ago.”

“Apples are a problem,” admits Wouters. “Only the really good ones, like the Jonagored, are shipped to places like Russia. The rest is unmarketable. Mostly because Poland is offering its produce at bargain prices. You have to really outperform yourself to compete with that. We’re relatively lucky that the Russians prefer our Jonagored right now. But the price differences between Polish and Belgian apples are huge: they go up to 20 cents per kilo.”

Wouters notices that competition with Poland is getting more fierce every year. “This season is even worse than before. The Polish harvest is bigger than ever. Rumours are they can’t even store them! But there is nothing you can do about that. We simply cannot supply that cheaply. The Polish have cheaper labour, cheaper packaging, lower fees and are closer to Russia. The only thing we do better is pears. Only Holland and Belgium have the right climate for a good Conference.”

Wouters thinks it will be a good season for pears. “Other countries don’t have the supplies we have. Our volumes are larger than anticipated. And price levels remain consistently good, so we still have a lot of business to look forward to.”

For more information:
Kris Wouters
Wouters Fruithandel
Kasteellaan 21
3454 Rummen, België
Tel: +32 11586190
Fax: +32 11581041

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