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"Floor van Os: "We're still an old-fashioned tenant farmer"

"Late March we'll know where we stand in the top fruit market"

Usually, Floor van Os of the eponymous wholesaler from Benschop has an outspoken expectation about the top fruit market. This year, he is more cautious. "I just don't know this season. That's also the reason why we're continuing to sell as normal with these low market prices, spreading sales across the season. If the price goes down, 45 cents is a good price and you'll have done well. If the price goes up further to 50/60 cents, you've been a bit too fast. On the other hand, if we all continue to hold onto the fruit, things won't end well either."

Own sales
With three brothers and four cousins, Van Ons manages the J.C. van Os company, which comprises a cultivation company with a 30 hectare acreage, a farm shop in Papendrecht, and a few years ago, a fresh produce speciality store in Sliedrecht was added to that. "We are still an old-fashioned tenant farmer. We've been selling in-house at the farm for over thirty years, and it's an important cornerstone at our company. We cool in our own cold storage. We were a member of The Greenery for years, with sales being handled by me personally. This no longer fit within GMO regulations, so last year we had to choose to give up either The Greenery, or sales. That wasn't a tough decision for us, because we knew we didn't want to give up sales."

Partnership D&G Fruit
Van Os has never done export himself. "We export in conjunction with the exporters we sell to. We used to do a lot with Jover. Now we're working a lot with Belgian D&G Fruit, which has a strong position in the United Kingdom and Scandinavia. We never did a lot in Eastern Europe, but when a market like Russia falls away, you do have to face the consequences," Floor says. "This year, we're dealing with a very unusual sales season. Product flows are shifting. These low prices and the good quality is an ideal situation for exporters to serve new markets though. In addition to China, you now see markets like North Africa and the Middle East emerge more and more."

Quality pear
"The quality is exceptional this year, making it a good year to experiment with new markets, because we can deal with those well, quality-wise. With the Conference, we've got a quality pear that was well received in China, and with which we can go anywhere in the world. So I remain optimistic, because you can't change anything about market forces anyway," Flood says. When asked if he still wants to look ahead to the upcoming weeks, the fruit trader answers: "Statistically speaking, a huge amount will have to be sold during the first four months of the new year. Late March, we'll know where we stand. If it won't happen in the upcoming months, then I'm not optimistic about it. If sales continue to go well, the year could end stably."

For more information:
Firma J.C. van Os
Dorp 99
3405 BB Benschop
[email protected]
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