Mohamed Akharouid, Top Fru International:

“We relieve importers of a lot of work”

Trade in overseas fruit hasn’t become easier in recent years. Mohamed Akharouid of Top Fru International has also noticed that. The sales agency works with Dutch importers and exporters for the sales of overseas fruit, mainly to Southern Europe. During the season for overseas fruit, Top Fru International focuses on apples and citrus from the southern hemisphere. The sales agency also does business in exotics. “We sell the fruit for anyone looking for sales in certain markets. We do focus mostly on markets in Southern Europe,” Mohamed explains.

Specific products
Top Fru International’s products include citrus from Argentina and Uruguay, mineolas from Peru and limes from Mexico and Brazil. Mohamed: “Most importers have their own standard brands. We aren’t active in bulk, but more in the smaller segment. Mostly specific products we can market well with our clients. We relieve them of a lot of work this way.”

Difficult Chilean apple season
The market for apples from Chile, Mohamed says, has been very difficult this year. The first shipments were still reasonable, but after that the market was virtually empty. “The signals that I get: they want higher guaranteed prices. That’s why Chile opts for other markets outside Europe. They’re also sending more directly to Europe, making it difficult for us.” Due to the lower supply, the sales agency gets more demand for apples, resulting in considerably higher prices.

South African citrus 
The season for citrus from South Africa was a difficult story last year, due to black spot. “Several suppliers came with rock-bottom prices,” Mohamed says. This year, a lot less is sent to Europe from South Africa, and so far the season is going pretty well. He says oranges are sold at reasonable prices, and the mandarins, supply of which is limited, are rather expensive. “Of course it’s always a matter of waiting and seeing, but prices have been stable so far. A number of black spot cases have been found. Of course the question is what will happen when even more cases are found.”

Citrus from South America improving 
Early July, the season for citrus from South America is still in the early stages. The sales agency sells products like Navelinas and Salustianas from Uruguay and Argentina, mineolas from Peru and lemons from Argentina. He notices that the fruit is increasingly meeting European quality demands, in terms of taste, colour, size, packaging, etcetera. They keep evolving, selling better and better products in Europe. Less citrus is coming to Europe from South America as well though, causing prices to be high so far.

More information
Top Fru International
Mohamed Akharouid

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