At Fairtrasa in Poeldijk, The Netherlands, the season for Mexican organic limes is ready to start again. "We have been working with Mexican suppliers for a number of years now and they expand their production annually, but most of the competition with organic limes has been coming from the Dominican Republic and Colombia in recent years," says Roelant Komen. According to the importer the import from these countries is causing more pressure on the market. "A few years ago we were still one of the few importers and almost had the exclusive rights to them. The price level was considerably higher back then, but the demand for organic limes is still in many cases a demand led market."
"We have received some limes over the last few months, but not on a regular basis and not enough to agree any programmes. This will change at the end of the month. This is when the volumes will really get going," says Roelant. He says the price difference with conventional limes is considerable. "It's a very different product. Because the organic limes aren't treated with wax, they are lighter in colour and have a shorter shelf life. Because the Brazilian organic limes have to be treated by order of the government to stop the spread of citrus cancer, it is impossible to get an organic certificate for them."
Fairtrasa sells the organic limes throughout Europe. "Germany, Scandinavia, the United Kingdom and France are the main markets. More southern countries aren't interested in organic limes yet. Traditionally the summer is the best time to sell limes. The sales of organic limes are also strongly dependent on the sales of organic lemons. When the overseas lemons are tight and expensive - and the price difference with the limes isn't as big - you sell more organic limes. Due to the tight supply of organic lemons from South Africa this year I foresee extra opportunities with the sales."