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Israeli season kicks off with high prospects, threats and opportunities

Omer Kamp of Arava Export Growers, has a solid belief that this season will be like no other before it. “Everything we have done for the past 5 years have brought us to the crossroad of which we find ourselves today, the expansion of global suppliers, increased demand and more dedicated Food Safety requirements are a wake up call that Marginal Values and Competitive Edges are a must. 

We can no longer wait for the market to demand our products, on the contrary, we must take the initiative and create the demand”, assessed by Omer Kamp. 

Arava Export Growers has been around for decades and seen how products associated with Israel such as Bell Peppers, Citrus, Cherry Tomatoes and others have diminished in importance. This scenario is an absolute threat and yet, if handled correctly, an opportunity of the highest importance. According to Kamp, this season changes undergone within the organization are all for the benefit of consolidating the different departments and implementing long-term strategies. 

Fresh Herbs: 
As amazing as it may be, the transition between the culinary usages of the early 2000’s as compared to the ones today is simply mesmerizing. A couple years back only a few knew what Basil looks like whereby today majority use Basil alongside Oregano, Marjoram and even Salicornia. It would therefore be safe the proclaim that our growth in this sector is constant. 

Nevertheless and despite the promising appearance, there are major challenges to be faced. On the one hand, demand is sky rocking with diversified requirements but, on the other hand, supply is coming from nearly everywhere driving prices down with lower quality standards. 

"In Israel for instance, not only we have to face global competition, but we also find ourselves dependent on limited labor options and striking devaluation of foreign currencies. As a result, whether we like it or not, our capabilities are narrowed down annually with less resources than we had years before. Still, an opportunity is presented to excel ourselves in Quality to overcome the threats.

Let there be no mistake, any market that begins to show signs of saturation, is also a market needing immediate recovery. For example, out of nowhere, flights departing from Africa will allegedly minimize their availabilities and hence, substantially increase costs while bringing prices up by nearly 10%.

Gradually prices will be driven upwards to accommodate the growers and its best for us all, when the margin is too little then proper service is nearly impossible to be provided, there are no free meals and one cannot run a private entity with long-term subsidies” This is a statement made by Omer Kamp. 

He continues to point out that "Arava fully comprehends that it takes two to Tango. If we ask clients to procure our products over others then, we Must ensure the supply of top notch quality with superior level of service, consistency, availability and most importantly, fair and honest line of communication. Our model should be that of McDonalds, always the same with almost no disappointments…"

Conventional Lines: 
"Our primary product has always been Capsicums. For years Arava dominated the market with the flow of excelled tasting and superior appearance peppers. Over the years nonetheless, we followed the market and began directing our product to other locations aside from Western Europe such as, Russia, Eastern Europe and North America. As a matter of fact, our peppers can be found in many of the world’s nations."

It seems that today’s consumption is based on contingencies and alternatives. Unjustifiably consumers wish to procure from various locations for as long as the price is lower than the other. Problem is that demand shifts instantly once climatic havoc takes place in a certain location, Spain for instance. However, if there is a lack of consistency then, there will not be an easy alternative. 

claimed by Omer Kamp, "we must ensure only the highest quality and grander level of service as to justify consumption of our product all season long with disregard to others.

Part of our strategy has been to diversify our lines and expand current offerings. There is an ongoing demand for a wider procurement basket."

This week will commence with larger more substantial amounts of Bell Peppers, Habaneros will kick off, Sweeties and green skin Avocados are a bit high on price but, widely available, Wonderful variety Pomegranates packed in 5 kg and relatively large calibers and last but not least, bundled Celery Sticks of which start later in the week. 

Unlike previous years, the Asian market has become more dominant than ever driving prices up by consuming citrus of the larger sizes. Resulting from that, prices elsewhere are also higher with limited count/size options. Still, it is a global phenomenon and therefore, there are no cheaper alternatives making the Israeli product appealing despite the high price. 

Same goes for Avocadoes and Sharon Fruits, there is a good, to say the least, local demand alongside the opening of the Asian market which, in return, drives prices upwards. Again, there are no better alternatives so, despite prices and limited availabilities, the product must still be justified by offering substantial marginal values.

Organic Lines: 
On the Organic front, for example, Arava Export Growers decided to consolidate a strict supply chain with the option of pre-packs at the growers. As a result, demand has tripled from previous years, according to the company. 

Bio lines such as graffiti eggplant, cucumbers, pointy mixes and bell peppers are increasing in demand this year and supply is also expected to aggregate. 

The Israel-based company also begun exporting Fresh Medjool Dates for the second year in a row. A project they have high hopes for. The dates can be added to their existing line of fresh cut herbs, habanero peppers, Sharon Fruits, pointies and more. 

Professionalism through challenges: 
One final notion, it is Arava’s belief that the complexity of this year's challenges have actually brought higher professionalism in all branches of the industry. "Where consumers demand zero tolerance, exporters realise the faults in their operations and find strategies to improve", says Omer Kamp.

For more information:
Omer Kamp
Tel: +97 239 728 127
Mob: +972 525 334 763
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