Belgium: Pepper prices recover after disastrous drop

Pepper prices at BelOrta have recovered somewhat. Earlier last week, prices plunged due to the dark weather and the holidays. "But now, supplies are down a bit," confirms Didier Algoet, pepper grower and vice president at the Belgian auction.

Algoet, pepper grower from Duffel, has had quite a dramatic year. After last year's TSWV hit his greenhouse, the entire crop had to be disposed of. “We went from a single infected plant to the entire crop in under four weeks. To keep the dreaded virus from returning, we moved the tomato plants into the greenhouse early July - and that crop was quite difficult. The weather was just getting better and the plants grew like weeds!" In spite of harvesting nearly 20 kg late October, prices were disappointing.


Because of these unforeseen events, the pepper plants were a bit late in arriving as well. Algoet: "We opted for the more solid green ones this time. We wanted to make sure we no longer have to deal with TSWV. Red varieties are usually not as resistant." The crop looks fine at the moment. "For now, although the past few days have been rather gloomy. The sun has yet to make an appearance.”

Low prices
"March and April were terribly bad for all colours,” the grower recalls. “Unlike anything I've seen in 25 years! The supply from Spain remained high and we were early. The market was full." Things have only recently recovered, although prices plummeted in early July: from 1.5 Euro on Friday to 70 to 80 cents on Wednesday. The past week they were at 1.10 "We’ll manage though,” assures Algoet. "It is just a little quiet right now, but nothing to get upset about. We prefer to harvest a little less at a better price than the other way around."


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