Whereas Belgian organic apples are still having a tough time toward the end of the season, organic pears are already in particularly high demand. "We have never had to commit so much volume so early for next season," says Gunther De Vadder of the Belgian Fruit Auction (BFV).
"Severe climatic problems seem to be causing lower yields in France and Italy," Gunther explains. "This has obviously been a problem for a while and they don't seem to be able to get it under control, making it worse. We obviously don't want to name prices yet, but it's easy trade like this. It's been different in the organic segment too, so that's nice."
By the way, the high demand does not cause the specialist to fear very high prices and shortages at the start of the new season. "Last year we actually saw a similar situation. In France at the time, a lot of pears had failed due to hail damage, so Belgian organic pears were also in demand, but there is a limit to the prices. It's fine if you look for the upper limit within normally acceptable levels, but you have to retain consumer confidence."
"Last season we were able to sell for €1.70-1.80 sorted, but parties asking €2.00 did get it. However, that is not good for consumers. It's logical that when there are fewer pears and more demand the price goes up, but you shouldn't do that with euros at a time. Fortunately, we have a loyal clientele, without any gold diggers. This means we can help one another in difficult times. For example, we help Germany parties when there are problems regarding pears and they are helping us right now with the apples."
Quite a few imperfect apples in the market
This is because organic apples, as indicated, are not doing as well. "The situation is slightly better than it has been for a long time this season, because so Germany is still on the market, as are some volumes from Italy. However, in organic as well as conventional, there are quite a few imperfect apples in the market. The hardness is not so good anymore. I took some tests recently and they are still pretty good, but that can completely turn around in a few weeks."
"We are going to get rid of these volumes," Gunther continued. "But just not at the best price, unfortunately. For conventional goods, prices have tripled over the past three months, but that wasn't so for the organic goods. Besides the domestic market, Germany is still paying the most and the excellent ties I mentioned earlier are working their magic. Call it the 'goodwill factor', that one mainly comes across in the organic sector anyway."
25% less organic cherries
In addition to pome fruit, the BFV is also slowly preparing for the start of organic cherries. The BFV one of the few Belgian auctions that trades organic cherries. "We expect to start the cherries in the middle of June and qualitatively it looks very good. However, the estimate was that we would be able to pick around 40 tons, but this seems to be considerably less. We estimate that about 25 percent less volume will be picked and the early Samba variety in particular will yield significantly less."