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George Stergiou of Greek export company ANYFION:

"Room for Greek organic citrus fruits on European markets is increasing"

The harvest of Greek organic citrus fruits got off to a relatively late start last year. Another factor was the extremely high orange juice prices, which in turn posed a significant competition for the fresh market, reports George Stergiou, CEO of the Greek export company ANYFION. The company has been maintaining a close cooperation with the Swiss Gebana AG for years and supplies the Fairtrade-specialized company with citrus fruits, pomegranates, and kiwis, among other things.

The season started with promising momentum, reflecting a robust demand for organic products, Stergiou observes. "The total volumes have increased by six percent compared to the previous year. This increase not only points at a positive trend in Greek organic fruit cultivation, but also the absorbency of the European market."

However, the late start of the harvest and the high juice prices also characterize this year's season with challenges. "The late harvest has noticeably affected the fresh market and also led to a temporal shortage, which in turn has driven both demand and prices up. The high juice prices, which also impacted the fresh market, added to the difficulty. This just shows how important and necessary strategic supply chain management is today," Stergiou reflects.

Organic citrus fruits are the most significant export product of ANYFION.

Although organic blond oranges make up the largest share of citrus exports by far, ANYFION also supplies the export markets with clementines, lemons, grapefruit, and blood oranges from organic farming. Stergiou: "Here too, we see a positive development and increasing acceptance of Greek organic fruits. We find that the unique taste of our fruits is well received by consumers. Therefore, we see a steadily growing demand for all citrus fruits."

Switzerland: Stable organic market
Thanks to the long-standing partnership with Gebana AG, organic citrus fruits have been able to establish themselves well in Switzerland. Even in times of inflation, the Swiss market shows a strong preference for high-quality organic citrus fruits, especially oranges, and the pricing strategy has been adjusted accordingly, Stergiou describes. "Compared to previous years, our farmers are achieving better producer prices this year. In the international competition with Spain and Italy, not only the quality of our fruits is highly appreciated, but also the sustainable cultivation methods. This ultimately contributes to better competitiveness in the international and fiercely contested market."

Sandra Dütschler from marketing partner Gebana AG agrees. "The quantities of oranges we sold have slightly increased this season, compared to the previous year. The oranges particularly increased at the start of the season, in November. Since our customers pre-order, the late start of the season then became a challenge for us. Also, the blood oranges, which only ripen in January, have increased above average. Grapefruit and lemons, however, stagnate at the previous year's level."

The online business is enjoying increasing demand despite inflation. The organic citrus fruits from Greece accounted for about 70 percent of the turnover of the fresh fruit range in 2023, Dütschler quantifies. "We are growing above average, particularly in Germany and Austria. However, the growth rates are somewhat flattened compared to the exceptionally strong pandemic years."

Further export potential available
In the future, Stergiou sees further growth potential for Greek fruit exports, especially in the organic sector. Now it is necessary to manage the climate change and the associated risks in cultivation accordingly. "That's why we have made it our mission to introduce future and resilient cultivation methods in order to be able to produce market-conform in the future," says Stergiou, pointing out the inevitable market adjustment.

"The fruit farms that will survive will inevitably have to minimize production costs and also implement efficient use of resources and alternative energy sources. Furthermore, we are faced with the task of integrating intelligent agriculture and supply chain monitoring into our workflows. Regardless, I see the opportunity to open up new export markets in the future by further developing Greece's image for high-quality products and thus fully exploiting the potential."

Pictures: ANYFION / gebana AG

For more information:
Raphael Sacher
Head of Projects
21100 Nafplio
Τel.: +41 78 683 30 22

gebana AG
Ausstellungsstrasse 21
8005 Zurich
Tel.: +41 43 366 65 00

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