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Gert-Jan Slobbe, Fortuna Frutos:

"Supply of Canarian tomatoes two weeks later"

Across the board, supply of Canarian tomatoes is two weeks later than usual. According to Gert-Jan Slobbe of Fortuna Frutos, this is related to the financial problems there. "Producers were owed subsidies by the Spanish government. Right before the season, part of this was received, but part of it still hasn't been disbursed. This has resulted in planting being delayed."

This Monday, Fortuna Frutos Continental in Barendrecht will receive the first shipments of both cars and containers, but according to Gert-Jan, these aren't large volumes yet. "Next week on Wednesday, the first ship will leave port. It has a capacity of 3,000 pallets for both the United Kingdom and the Netherlands, but the ship will not even be filled by a quarter."

Positive effect
The late start of the season could actually have a positive effect, he thinks. "Normally, the larger volumes are already coming in early November, now it will not be until the third and fourth week. The past three years, we had a very bad start in November due to a mild autumn in Europe and an early start of Moroccan, Spanish and Canarian cultivation. This resulted in a lot of supply and low prices. I do expect the start will be better now."

The waiting, according to Gert-Jan, is for the role Russia will play in all of this. "From Fortuna Frutos, a small volume went to Russia. Because of the boycott, I expect less competition from Morocco, but perhaps a larger Spanish supply. We'll have to wait and see how these factors will balance each other out. For round tomatoes, the season is expected to end a bit sooner, and volumes will also be lower."

The weather conditions on the Canary Islands have been great so far. "All in all, the tomato and cucumber acreage of both Tenerife and Gran Canaria is the same as last year. For tomatoes, the Fortuna group has a small expansion of 8 hectares, thanks to a new cooperative joining us. The cucumber acreage remained the same. Supply of these will start a bit earlier. In total, Fortuna Frutos has a production acreage of 300 hectares on the Canary Islands."

The reduction of the number of importers of Canarian tomatoes in both the Netherlands and the United Kingdom is a good thing, Gert-Jan thinks. "Fifteen years ago I already said that the fragmentation isn't to the advantage of the Canarian producers. This joining of forces and further professionalizing is a logical consequence. In the Netherlands, the number has already been reduced to three, and there are a lot fewer in the United Kingdom as well."

Both Fortuna Frutos Continental and International - importing the entire range of vegetables, headed by Stephane Rion - are shipping the complete range at Opticool Logistics in Rotterdam, starting October 1.

For more information:
Gert-Jan Slobbe
Fortuna Frutos Continental
Oslo 17
2993 LD Barendrecht
Tel: +31(0)180-751400
Fax: +31(0)180-751444
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