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Benny Cuypers, BelOrta:

"Spanish supply will begin putting Belgian tomato prices under pressure this week"

The Belgian greenhouse vegetable season is slowly coming to an end. The switch to lit cultivation is underway, so volumes are generally slightly lower these weeks. "We're now in bell pepper, zucchini, and eggplant's last weeks. The large cucumber volumes are also gone. Like tomatoes, we'll switch there, so we'll have them continuously in the coming months," says BelOrta's Benny Cuypers.

He is generally satisfied with last season's prices. "We must, of course, distinguish ourselves in this. We're happy with the bell pepper, eggplant, and zucchini price trends, but cucumbers, especially in the first months, had a hard season. After last year's success, the cucumber market struggled to absorb the acreage expansion. The oversupply did subside somewhat in the second part of the season, but that didn't produce such good prices as to make up for the first few months."

Spanish supply put tomato prices under pressure
Benny says the summer season went well for tomatoes. "We're quite pleased with the prices and supply. That supply is declining a bit, but we're expecting volumes in the conventional crops (loose and vine tomatoes) that can be worked with very well in the coming months. With loose tomatoes, that will be until about mid-December, and with TOV, the fall and lit cultivation means volumes should remain fairly large until late January," he says.

Nevertheless, the market will come under some pressure from southern Europe from next week. The climate problems in, particularly Spain, have delayed the product's arrival on the market a little, but these, Benny explains, are now finding their way to northern Europe. "That's not unusual; it happens every year."

"Spain's warm weather still benefited us. Because Spain came on the market slightly later, tomato and bell pepper prices were good for the past few weeks. Now that those supplies are increasing somewhat, which always puts some pressure on prices, those should slump in a bit from next week," Benny expects.

Spot in the market for Belgian sweet potatoes
BelOrta's sweet potato season began about two weeks ago. This rather exotic crop is increasingly being grown locally and is now a regular product in the cooperative's assortment. "This year's looking good, too, and the situation is stabilizing a bit. We work with a fixed acreage and several growers who've reported good harvests again this year."

"The summer growth season benefited the sweet potatoes. The wet period in July and August meant the potatoes had plenty of water during the summer. The fall's nice, warm, dry weather was ideal for the crop, so we're certainly not dissatisfied with the quality," says Cuypers.

According to him, Belgian sweet potatoes have won their spot in the market. "We're still a tiny market player in a market mainly determined internationally by produce from the United States, Spain, and Egypt. They focus more and more on production because of how popular the product is among consumers these days. But plenty of buyers specifically choose the Belgian product, which isn't inferior either. Ultimately, it will be another great season," Benny concludes.

For more information:
Benny Cuypers
120 Mechelsesteenweg
2860, Sint-Katelijne-Waver, BE
Tel.: +32 (0) 155 655 291
Email: [email protected]

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