Tony Derwael, Bel'Export:

"First symptoms of oversupply top fruit are visible"

According to grower and trader Tony Derwael, the situation in top fruit can be describe as follows: the last mile is the longest. "From August on, after Prognosfruit, it's literally rained pears and apples, which meant the fruit grew five millimetres thicker and yielded 20% more kilos than was estimated at the end of July. This resulted in a shortage in cold stores and pallet boxes. Every gap is plugged, also with growers who suffered hail damage."

He continues: "Compared to last year's panic with the Russian boycott and the fact that the season was three weeks later, there was little activity in sorting. This caused a lower supply on a rather quiet market, albeit with higher prices."

He notes that they're already seeing the first symptoms of oversupply. "You see this in neighbouring countries and regions that, like every year, try to protect themselves by only selling local produce, thus crippling our export. Now we have to wait and see how this situation will develop with the bigger players, like Poland, where 20% less and smaller apples are reportedly picked than what was anticipated. They now expect to harvest 3.2 million tonnes compared to the 3.8 million tonnes estimated in early August. For the pears, we know that both Spain and Italy have picked less, which would also be advantageous for us. Exact figures are difficult to get hold of, however."

He goes on to say: "In the rest of the northern hemisphere, America is also said to have picked less and smaller apples due to the drought, which, together with the more expensive dollar, could help us in export markets like India and the Middle East. Of China, we know that their harvest is 20% bigger, which could result in competition on the Russian market, especially because they're good friends and not in the boycott. So it's all up in the air, and we'll have to wait and see what the future will bring. Unfortunately we can't influence everything, except for being optimistic and not forgetting to sell," he concludes.

For more information:
Tony Derwael
Neremstraat 2
3840 Borgloon - Belgium
Tel +32 12 440 551

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