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Sales of heated cultivation asparagus to commence in the coming weeks at BelOrta

'The greenhouse vegetable market continues to be dominated by a large supply from the south'

The transition to Western European products in the greenhouse vegetable market is currently in full swing, but for the time being, the market is dominated by vegetables from the south. Benny Cuypers from BelOrta reports: "We have to keep up with the prices from Spain and Morocco, where, generally speaking, it's not considered to be good."

"In tomatoes, we see that the supply from the south has been quite large in recent weeks," he continues. "This puts pressure on the prices and is immediately noticeable in our illuminated cultivation. Our supply is not so large that it disrupts the market, which means we still have to follow the international market, and the prices are not what they should be."

Benny observes a similar situation with eggplants and, to a lesser extent, cucumbers. "Our cucumber volumes are starting to increase quite rapidly. Several growers have started production, and the price formation is relatively fair. Due to significant market pressure, the past weeks have been really challenging, but last week things started to improve. Here too, however, we have to compete against production from, in particular, Spain, which is still clearly present."

"Additionally, we have recently started with eggplants, but that start has been very difficult. Here again, the main reason lies in the low prices from the south. It remains a game of supply and demand, but we hope that things will start to improve in the coming weeks. From other years, we know that Spain and Morocco can continue until April. However, it's always a waiting game, as a lot can change. It depends on the weather and the condition of the plants. Moreover, many traders still have agreements with suppliers from the south, meaning they are bound for the coming weeks. The transition to Western European supply really needs to be completed. For us, it would be preferable if this happened in the coming weeks, but it all depends on what is still available from the south and what agreements are in place."

Larger volumes of asparagus in the coming weeks
In addition to traditional greenhouse vegetables, the cooperative has recently restarted with greenhouse asparagus. Always a product eagerly anticipated in Belgium and surrounding areas. "It remains a special time of the year, viewed differently by traders. Unlike many other crops, this one has remained a seasonal cultivation. For now, the supply is still limited. We work with about five growers who are all hard at work. Nevertheless, the really large volumes never hit the market from the greenhouse."

"For the large volumes, one must wait until the heated outdoor cultivation begins. That will be about next week or the week after. And it's not a moment too soon, as demand is already very high. It also means that the prices are still holding up well. Usually, they are on the high side in the run-up to the season (beginning of February), but then they drop a bit in the following weeks. This season, the price formation is still correct. We're waiting to start with the large volumes."

For more information:
Benny Cuypers
Mechelsesteenweg 120
B-2860 Sint-Katelijne-Waver, Belgium
Tel.: +32 (0)15 55 11 11

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