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Short, but good grapefruit season in Israel

The start of the grapefruit season was really good for the Tel Aviv-based premium fresh produce grower and exporter BeFresh Ltd; according to Oron Ziv, Co-Owner and Managing Director of BeFresh Europe, “we’ve been enjoying a very good demand and really nice prices. The only problem is that the season was too short; after four weeks, the market started to collapse, so the growers who marketed most of their fruit during those 4-5 weeks, had a good season, but for those in overlapping periods, the situation is very different.”

Another niche product at the moment is pomelos, since the production is small and prices at the beginning are also really good, as they arrive before the Chinese campaign. “The season for us always starts in the first week of September with the red pomelo; one or two weeks later, the fresh grapefruit arrives,” assures Mr Ziv.

He explains that in the Israeli valley where the fruit is grown, citrus plantings, especially of Orri clementines, are now actually on the rise. About 10 years ago, there was a big crisis in the grapefruit business; a hurricane hit Florida in 2003 that shook the industry worldwide. “Prices jumped from 10 Euro to 15-17 Euro, as there was no grapefruit. As a result, there was a mass of new plantings all over the Mediterranean, in countries like Israel, Spain, Turkey, and when these came all to full production, there was another crisis, which is what we have been facing for the past 4-5 years. It is difficult to say what will happen in the long term, but things can change very rapidly.”

In this context, one of the goals, despite the difficulties it involves due to the phytosanitary barriers in place, is to ship the fruit to China, but the key objective for BeFresh, according to Mr Ziv, is to remain competitive by continuing to focus on quality and added value, as “you will never be able to compete with the production costs of Egypt or Turkey. That is how you create your advantage.”

While BeFresh Europe is mostly focused on citrus, it also works with a number of other products, including Sharon Fruit, peppers, pomegranates, mangoes and melons, and the situation differs depending on the product. Mr Ziv notes, for example, that in the Sharon Fruit market, “currently dominated by Spain, this year there are very low crops, so prices are expected to be really good.” In any case, he insists that the company’s global strategy is not to supply consistently large volumes, but to offer the best possible quality.

For more information:
Oron Ziv
BeFresh Europe Ltd.
Tel: +972 4 6191736

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