The harvesting, packing and exports of avocados, citrus and dates are ongoing in Israel as volunteers stepped in to help out due to a shortage of people. According to an overview by Yosi Knop, marketing and sales manager at Galilee Export in Israel, “The unfortunate on-going situation keeps tension high and dynamic on a daily basis. Nevertheless, our growers were able to recover from the tragedies and resume harvesting and packing operations across all categories. We’re all hoping for peaceful times.”
He says the most affected pack houses in the North of the country are operating again too. “Our packing houses at the north have picked up production and we are working at full capacity. In the South, packing houses also resumed their activities and are working almost at full capacity. Lack of workers is still an issue, but huge support of brave volunteers are making up for it,” states Knop.
He says the Green skin avocado season started in August with the Galil and Day varieties, “which went really well from all aspects, we have moved on to Ettinger and expect to finish soon with a total of 7,500 tons. Now we are starting with Pinkerton, and soon to join is Arad and Fuerte. Overall we have been able to keep a continuous supply, market demand is good and prices are steady.”
The Hass Avocado season started a bit earlier this year at the beginning of October. “Demand was excellent and prices were high to begin with and moderated later on. This period was mainly with relatively small-medium sizes, and we currently see it shifting for bigger and better sizes split. In the upcoming months of January-February, we are planning to increase significantly our Hass production to keep up and supply all of our customers' demands."
While the avocado harvest is going well things are not so smooth for the citrus harvest. “The Sweeties overall production was reduced this year. Unfortunately, many growers with orchards in the south of Israel were not able to harvest the fruits due to the situation. Shipments are almost over, some volumes still are planned to be shipped in the upcoming month. Also Organic Sweeties were harvested and accepted really well in EU markets.”
Despite these challenges Galilee have been able to launch a Red Premium Grapefruit this week. “We launched to the markets our Red Premium Grapefruit quality this week, and so far demand is higher than previous years, we hope to keep up with the demand.”
Knop says the grapefruits season started a bit early this year at the beginning of September. “Harvesting and production are all going well, quality is good and demand is steady in all our traditional markets. The Orri Mandarin season is expected to start in the middle of December, the Orri Mandarin season will face similar challenges as the Sweeties, challenges of uncertainty in the upcoming period. Kumquat is also going well as we are able to offer some volumes to the market, but unfortunately due to the circumstances couldn't keep up with all the demand.”
Their Medjoul dates season started a bit later this year. “There was some lack of the premium quality and sizes. Demands for our dates, especially the premium quality are high and keep increasing, we hope to be able to keep up with it. This year Galilee is expecting a season with more than 5,000 tons, we will be able to supply our customers in all markets globally by air and sea.”
The sweet peppers season started at the beginning of November says Knop. “Quality is good and market demands is steady so far. Organic Sweet peppers are coming up soon, and production is facing challenges due to the lack of workers in the south of Israel. We plan to continue supplying our customers in all markets with this product globally by air and sea."
He says the early varieties of pomegranate are over. “We are now in the midst of the Wonderful variety harvesting. The quality is good, the demand is stable, and we are supplying our customers in all markets globally by air and sea,” concludes Knop.