Jan-Willem Wellner (Wellner Fruit) on top fruit market, quality and Service2Fruit:

"A lot of pear cells aren't suitable to make the end of the season"

The top fruit market has quite a few loose ends. "At the moment it is very calm. Everyone started the season very optimistically, but the season isn't going like we expected at all. At the start of the season everyone was flocking to the growers, but due to the high price on the branch the sales led to a stagnation. The season already started a month later and now the sales are also behind," says Jan-Willem Wellner. His company, Wellner Fruit, supplies buyers at home and abroad with fruit from their own production company, completed with fruit bought from fellow growers.

Increasing demand for coarse Comice and Lukassen
The prices of the pears in particular have been under pressure over the last two weeks. "They are being sold for around 40 cents at the moment, but they were being sold for between 38 and 43 cents on the branch at the start of the season. It's a lot more expensive now with the cooling costs," says Jan-Willem. "England and the domestic market are buying their programmes, but I feel like these are smaller volumes. Luckily there are some pears going to China, albeit with difficultly and under strict conditions. The sale of Elstar apples is recovering well. The sales of Jonagold on the other hand, are very difficult. You do see that the industry has more of a bottom in the market now. Thankfully, it's not all negative, as the demand for coarse Comice and Lukassen is going up over the last two weeks."

Jan-Willem is most concerned about the quality of the pears especially. "At the moment we have very high quality pears, but the hardness is very different from last year, the pears are a kilo softer. A lot of cells aren't suitable to make the end of the season. This is why it's important to monitor the cells well. The pears are an average of 5 mm smaller, so a lot more will have to be cleared. The race isn't yet run, but it's important that the sales continue." According to the trader the difference between the professional growers, who make work of watering and thinning, and the growers 'who work with the tractor' is increasing. "There are now also growers who harvest 70% of the 65+ sorting and they can now take in considerably more."

Wellner is an advocate of the online trading platform Service2Fruit. "This transparency towards the grower is important. Of course the regular trade will continue to exist, but you can see that a grower who describes their party the best on Service2Fruit, can get 5 cents more for the same cell. When the market is down, the price on Service2Fruit also goes down, but always second, whereas the prices go up there first. There is quite a lot of scepticism on the fruit market, as it is kicking the feet from under the brokers and cooperatives, but I think the results are incredible. In four years the platform has developed into the second party in the Netherlands and this is increasing. I think it would be good if the existing cooperations would cooperate more with Service2Fruit. I believe that is a responsibility towards to grower, to get the fairest price for their product. As a grower, I realised this!"

For more information:
Jan-Willem Wellner
Wellner Fruit
Voetakkerweg 2b
4194 PP Meteren
Tel: +31 (0)34 55 69 672

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