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Tony Cholwill, Iberveg

UK short supply of speciality toms

The import of salad vegetables is difficult just now after a summer of unpredictable weather across Europe.

Tony Cholwill from Iberveg said that speciality tomatoes in particular have been hard hit by the extreme temperatures and fluctuations in weather conditions. In Almeria one grower alone has lost around 30Ha. "Wholesale prices have risen drastically and a great deal of packers for the retailers have been affected as a result. The retailers agree the price at the start of the season, fixed prices. Many retailers are conscious of the situation and can relax either specifications slightly or their intended promotional activity in order to ease the situation, after all Cherry Tomatoes are growing in demand year on year let alone Baby Plum and Cherry Vine types."

Despite the issues however Cholwill, explains that Iberveg have successfully fulfilled all of their obligations and have supplied the programmes which are in place 100%.

"The reason for this is that we have cemented deals with our own growers which have been built up over the past few years. Its all about give and take. We will take product when its surplus to requirements and honour any agreement, but at the same time expect the same from our growers when the coin flips. The benefits are for both parties and this alone strengthens our partnerships going forward," said Cholwill.

He goes on to say that one very important factor is that Iberveg have a base in Almeria, Spain and are constantly monitoring the situation 24/7. Being on site is key according to Cholwill, as you become aware of potential issues well in advance of them hitting and can react and advise accordingly.

"We have, where possible tried to fill in on ad-hoc orders from non programmed/new customers and to date have supplied where possible, this IS all down to the relationships and future developments and trust with independent growers we have," explains Cholwill.

He expects the present situation to last for another 3-4 weeks until the new Spanish crop and the Moroccan supply comes fully online.

The UK and Dutch supply has also been low, this is mainly due on the other hand, to low temperatures and lack of light levels throughout the summer, there was a spike of hot weather in July when the supply peaked. The UK does tend to rely heavily on Spain, Morocco and Italy predominantly for the cherry tomatoes, baby plum and other speciality varieties.

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For more information:
Tony Cholwill
Email: [email protected]
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