“During Canada’s winter months, we source our bell peppers (red, green and orange) in the Netherlands and Spain and rely on product from Ontario and Mexico during our summer season,” says Olivier Banon with Fruigor. “Trade of bell peppers is largely driven by exchange rates,” commented Banon. With the current exchange rates, local Ontario producers prefer to sell their product to the US instead of keeping it in the Canadian market. For the very same reason, Mexican growers don’t want to sell to Canada either and go directly to the US. Ironically, bell peppers available in Canadian grocery stores primarily originate from the Netherlands and Spain.
Market into Canada is open
Between October 2010 and October 2015, the import duty of bell peppers from the Netherlands and Spain into Canada was 193 percent to avoid dumping of peppers in the Canadian market. A year ago, this duty was lifted and Dutch and Spanish bell peppers are making their way into Canada again. “I see it as a positive development,” shared Banon. “It allows for healthy competition for growers and offers opportunities for exports. Trading is a two-way street,” he added.
The US market has been closed for bell peppers from Spain for a year now to mitigate the risk of the entry of exotic pests and diseases. Spanish growers are preparing their farms to meet the latest requirements set in the US protocol for the export of peppers and are hopeful the market will open up soon.
Air space is tight
At the moment, supply and demand are pretty well balanced. “Spanish production is almost over, but the Netherlands is going strong.” Because of the Thanksgiving holiday, demand is strong and prices have started to increase. “That’s a normal trend for this time of the year and we will see this continuing into December,” said Banon. Airfreight product records CAD 18.50 – 20.00 (US$ 13-14) per 11 lb. box. Planning of logistics is key this time of the year. “Air space becomes tighter during the holidays, which can make it challenging to get product on the plane,” concluded Banon.
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