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Better prospects for Israeli melon, citrus exports

Following last year's lackluster returns, this year's Israeli export season for melons and citrus have gotten off to a good start. With the European market relatively free of large amounts of fruit from South Africa, prices for melons and grapefruit have been strong.

“The market for melons is good,” said Oron Ziv of BeFresh Europe. “The Spanish season is completely over, so there's nothing left from Spain. Last year, there was product from Spain into mid-October. There's also not much coming from Brazil, so we're facing good demand and nice prices.” This good stretch has coincided with the peak of the melon season in Israel. Ziv noted that they're currently shipping large volume of melons, mostly to Holland and Germany, and that pace should continue for the next two weeks.

Similarly, the market for red grapefruit is very good. A summer glut of product from South Africa made for low prices. The market got so depressed that many South African suppliers cut their grapefruit programs short, but the subsequent lack of fruit resuscitated the market. Now, with the Israeli season underway, suppliers like BeFresh are benefiting from a robust market.

“Supplies from Turkey and Florida will arrive in the next two or three weeks, and then prices will go down,” said Ziv. “But we hope they won't go down to the same levels as prices from last season. A box of grapefruit is now selling for about 14 Euro, and it might go down a bit in the next few weeks, but I don't think it will be as low as the price we saw last season.” The market for pomelos was also relatively successful, though it was relegated to niche status because of the large presence of Chinese pomelos.

Shipments of sweeties began this week, and like the other Israeli citrus programs, it's gotten off to a good start. Brokers had previously worried that there would be an oversupply of the fruit as more growers were drawn to the lucrative nature of the product. The danger was that the swarm of new plantings would produce more fruit than the market could bear, but strong demand throughout Europe and Russia has prevented that from happening.

“Sweeties have no competition in Europe because they're only grown in Israel,” said Ziv. “It's only the first week of the season, but we've gotten good performance from sweeties because there's a balance in demand and supplies.”

In its export deals, Ziv noted that BeFresh has worked extensively with Direct Source International. The partnership has been a fruitful one for both companies as they've expanded their presence through Europe.

“We're not selling exclusively through DSI, but they are our main partner in Europe,” said Ziv. “We have a friendly relationship with the people there, they started their company around the same time we started ours, and it's been a very good match from the outset.”

Oron Ziv
BeFresh Europe Ltd.
Phone: +972 3 968 2929
Fax: +972 4 672 5001
Email: [email protected]