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Netherlands: “Importing pomelos only for the real specialist”

The Chinese pomelo season is underway. Europe is one of its biggest customers: the pomelo finds its way to Germany, Scandinavia and Eastern Europe. In spite of the pomelo’s rise to fame, the citrus fruit hasn’t yet taken off in Holland. The past couple of years Chinese suppliers have had issues in regard to MRL legislation, resulting in many shipments having to be destroyed.

Bram Verbaas of Citrus World said that this year’s crop in China is smaller than normal, due to the climate. Export is also down. Culprits here are the dollar, high domestic demand and higher production costs. MRL issues have prompted some traders to stop importing Chinese pomelos. “So import numbers are down. But this might not be bad, at least not for the price.”

Hillfresh, that gets its pomelos from Vietnam, can offer the fruit all year round. Edward Kempeneers agrees that import is low, but adds to have to know your trade. “All our traders know their business. We have had no problems so far.” Kempeneers admits that the Dutch are unfamiliar with the pomelo, and thinks most of its chances lie in Eastern Europe. “It’s a tricky product, and it takes a specialist to properly market them.”

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