The season for organic citrus fruit from Greece is starting late this year. The weather during flowering delayed the growth and now the Swiss market has to be patient for a little longer until the popular goods arrive. George Stergiou, the CEO and export manager of ANYFION GREECE spoke to FreshPlaza about the upcoming season, changes on the market and the preferences of Swiss consumers.

"Conventional oranges have been on the market for a few weeks now. Since we don't degreen the fruit we need to wait a little longer to achieve the ideal ripeness, so it will be a few weeks before we can really get started", says George. He is expecting to begin harvesting in about ten days.

Even though his fruit aren't on the market yet he can already comment on the supply and demand. "I did many thorough inspections in the plantations this year and I am expecting losses of 30% for oranges compared to last year. The weather during the flowering was too cold and the trees slowed down their production. The impact on the clementine's was even worse and I am expecting losses of 50%. Granted, 2018 had record yields, therefore the losses aren't quite as bad compared to the five-year average." Due to the lower fruit count the calibers tend to be larger – he expects this to soften the effects of the losses. "Additionally, the lower volumes will enable us to achieve better prices for our farmers. Overall we are not unhappy with our prospects."

The weather in the company's production area has since brought some more issues: "It's still 22 degrees here in Greece and that keeps the oranges from properly ripening. On top of that, we had no rain in October and had to continuously irrigate until last week when there was finally some rain. From now on we have high hopes for a positive development."

The demand for citrus imported by ANYFION is already very good, according to George: "We already have 30% more orders than last year, and that's before the harvest has even started." The main part of ANYFION’s goods are exported to Switzerland, where they are market leaders: "We import 95% of all Greek oranges in Switzerland. For lemons, clementines and grapefruits we supply 100% of Greek products available in this country."

They do not supply large retail chains with their citrus: "Our customers are smaller fruit and vegetable retailers and we also sell directly to consumers. Last year we imported 500 tons of oranges, 100 tons of clementines, 35 tons of lemons and 25 tons of Grapefruit." Some smaller volumes were also exported to Germany and Austria. He sees a yearly growth in demand of about 20-30%, nevertheless there is still plenty of room to grow for the organic market in general.

Right now, Spain and Italy are the established suppliers of citrus fruit on the European market and these are his competitors. “I challenge the consumers to find our products and taste them. They will feel the difference in flavor and taste"!  New growers, such as Turkey, are no problem for him. "Even other Greek exporters are no issue for us as they mainly export to Eastern Europe (Poland, Hungary, Serbia). We have found a nice niche for ourselves and our clients are very happy with us."

More information:
Raphael Sacher
Schlagstrasse 49
6430 Schwyz, Switzerland
T: +41 (0)78 683 30 22

George Stergiou

6th km PR Nafplio – Argos
21100 Nafplio, Greece
T: +30 2752 18 10 60
M: +30 693 61 69 833