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“After a dismal apple season, it’s great to end on a positive note” Export


Much has been written about Belgian apples’ issues. It was a tough season, but that negative trend seems to be mostly reversed. Several traders are optimistic about the new season, and growers, too, are experiencing some sunshine after the rain. “Not everyone appreciates the longer wet spring, but the apple market benefits,” begins Bert Morren of the Belgian fruit company of the same name.


©www.straffestreek.be

“And it was perhaps needed, else no trees would remain, I fear. Most fruit growers, including me, sold our fruit early because of concern about the rising energy costs. So, stocks are now limited, though demand’s actually increased significantly. Apparently, people more quickly reach for an apple or pear when the weather’s disappointing.”

“But there are also many new sales markets that weren’t initially expected to be so successful. Belgian apples can benefit from that. Polish apples are finding other destinations than our market, too, which indirectly benefits the Belgian supply,” Bert says.

As the new season approaches, the situation makes for good prospects. “The drought in Spain and Italy is causing plenty of problems and likely a lower yield than in other years. That’s awful for them, of course, but could help our top fruit. Also, the rain in Belgium has brought the water level back to normal.”

“The fruit, thus, looks excellent for now. However, the new season will be about 14 days late. That could mean some shortages, but there’s enough room on the market for our ‘summer apple’, the Sissired. I think the empty market will get us off to a better start than last year,” Bert explains.


©www.straffestreek.be

Besides apples, the company specializes primarily in Conference pear cultivation. That situation has been considerably better all season, and prices are still above expectations. “Stocks are limited there, too, because of the fear early in the season. Still, no one expected demand to be this high. I hear they’re leaving unsorted in the palloxs for over a euro. Had we known that, we would’ve sold a lot less so quickly. It’s nice to end a dismal season on a positive note.”

Benefits after BelOrta/BFV merger
For the grower who markets his fruit via the BFV, there is also the upcoming integration with BelOrta to deal with. From July 1, the two Belgian cooperatives will join operations, and Bert is optimistic. “I don’t expect much will change for me as a grower. However, BelOrta is much bigger than the BFV and far stronger in the market. Our costs will also be reduced,” Morren says.

“Those are at five to six percent at the BFV, but we were told that will be considerably less after the merger. BelOrta undoubtedly has a larger spread with fruit, open field vegetables, and soft and hard fruit. The cost issue is crucial to many these days, so I only see benefits. The director (Marc Grauwels) has also tried very hard to keep everything on track.”

Short chain laureate
The company not only grows fruit but is also betting more on its regional products store. “Those products range from homemade apple gin, apple juice, and pear syrup, made from our fresh fruit, to locally produced coffee, mustard, and beer,” Bert adds. It is the result of collaborations with local producers.

That has led to the company being chosen as one of the six laureates in the province of Flemish Brabant’s Korte Keten Kop. During the Short Chain Week (May 13 – 21), the province tries to find short-chain representatives. “It’s quite an honor and wonderful to be recognized this way,” Bert concludes.

For more information:
Bert and Joke Morren
Fruitbedrijf Morren
6 Groen Street
3470, Kortenaken, BE
Tel: +32 (0) 474 764 669
Email: fruitmorren@outlook.com  
Website: www.streekproductenmorren.be


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