"Production has decreased somewhat, giving the market breathing space, causing prices to go up. For weeks, we've seen bell pepper prices that were too low. Now things are returning to normal a bit", Benny Cuypers of LAVA says about the improving bell pepper market. The past days, all colours have gone up in price. "Green has been more irregular in supplies, and is fluctuating more than usual. Orange stayed behind a bit, but also went up to 1.15 yesterday. Last week, that price was still below one Euro." Yellow was at 1.40 to 1.50 yesterday, red was 1.15 and green even went up to 1.40 to 1.45 due to limited supplies. The price increase has been realized despite the Russian boycott. "Production has been decisive. That plays a much bigger part than the Russian import ban," Cuypers explains. "Contrary to previous weeks, prices are more correct."
Despite the better prices, the season doesn't look too good yet. "It's been very volatile, with lots of ups and downs. We started badly, then it suddenly changed for the better, with pretty expensive products. The summer has been very bad again, and now things are improving a bit." The weather has played an important part in this process. "We started production early, which means entering the market when Israel and Spain are still there as well. More than usual, the wet, changeable weather conditions caused periods with little and periods with much production. That causes more fluctuations than the past years."
The end of July and the beginning of August was a period with very bad prices. There was a market intervention for bell pepper, where produce was taken out of the market. "Not a lot, but it happened for a few days." Is such an intervention worthwhile if competing producers, including the Netherlands, don't want to remove produce from the market? "It would be better if everyone did that at the same time. I won't deny that. But it's also a statement to the market, that produce will maintain its value, and we won't sell it for just any price", Cuypers refers to the minimum price that comes into force as soon as market intervention occurs.
With two months to go, and varying productions in the past, it's hard to predict price development in the coming weeks. "The largest productions are behind us. We hope to continue with these prices for the period ahead of us." Cuypers doesn't expect the season to end early because of the early start. "It could be one or two weeks, but I don't think so." The hope is that Spain won't start too early in the time ahead. "It would be best if we could seamlessly follow each other. But that's always a matter of waiting."