For a while, the pear market experienced good prices, but those have dropped by a few cents as of yesterday. “I want to warn the Belgian fruit cultivators to not pack too much yet. It would be nice if we calmly waited so that we could maintain the good market situation until the end of the season,” says Kris Wouters from Wouters Fruithandel.
According to Kris, the most important reason for cultivators to start ‘clearing’ more, is last year’s situation. “The quality of the pears was very disappointing near the end of the season then, and much was sent to industry. People are now more afraid of storing pears, and they do not want to take the risk. Besides, some think that the price decrease will persist.” He recommends cultivators to not make hasty decisions. “For most people, quality is still good. Check the pears in cold stores again, and if they are still good, they can wait a bit longer.”
He has noticed that pear cultivators tend to wait longer in the Netherlands than in Belgium. “Of course we can sort when there is demand, but that is easier said than done for some companies. They usually employ Eastern European people, and you cannot just send them away for a week or two.” If cultivators were to pack less, the price decrease in pears will probably not be too bad, according to Kris. “The market will then recover by next week. I could be wrong of course, but I hope not.”
Basically, not much has changed
Kris is careful when drawing conclusions about the entire season. “We will not be faced with the consequences until the very end, of course. In the four production countries, Belgium, the Netherlands, Spain and Italy, we picked fewer kilograms of Conference, and I think that was the main reason prices were fairer. All in all, this year has been better so far than previous years, but basically, not much has changed. We continuously have more supply than demand. It does not often happen that all four countries have a great production, but when it does we will have a serious problem. Great efforts are made for new sales markets, but it is not enough.”