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Lucas Wennekers, Bessies:

"Ethiopian strawberries are my unique selling point"

Last summer, Lucas Wennekers launched Bessies, focusing on the buying and selling of blueberries and strawberries. The current Spanish season has its challenges, which is why the trader is eager to start with the first Dutch Elsanta strawberries next week.

"Spain was very worried about all the water restrictions before the season started. But in the end, especially in the last two weeks, quite a lot of rain has fallen. The damage from the rain is currently a bigger problem than the shortages, and the quality of the fruit is not equally good everywhere. At the same time, the volumes are larger than many people had anticipated," Lucas explains.

He reflects on a challenging season. "Since I only started last year, I obviously haven't really built a track record yet. Because of my credit limits, I haven't been able to sell the volumes I wanted, but I definitely can't complain. Israel has been open to Spanish blueberries as a new destination for two years, and I've also managed to play a part in this."

"The prices are quite high. You see that many growers are standing their ground, especially after the high prices of overseas berries in the fall. Consumers have become quite accustomed to paying high prices, and people are trying to capitalize on that. At the same time, the quality of the strawberries, in particular, is not equally good everywhere, and customers are eager to switch to Dutch strawberries."

"Normally, the period around the end of May, beginning of June is a bit more challenging as the Spanish and Moroccan season comes to an end and Eastern Europe is yet to start, but I expect this transition to be smoother this season. So far, Eastern Europe has had a mild winter, and there seems to be enough product coming from there," Lucas observes.

Lucas is very interested in the 'new' African growing areas. "Every company has something that makes it special. For me, it's Ethiopian strawberries. I'm in talks with breeders to get better strawberry varieties to Ethiopia. These are grown year-round and are exported to Asia, among other places. Personally, I also have high expectations for the export of these strawberries to the Middle East. That market is not too far away, and with reasonable air freight rates, it should be doable. I also want to start selling blueberries from Kenya."

Lucas has not regretted starting his own business. "It takes time to build connections, but I supply customers throughout Europe with berries and strawberries. Ultimately, I want to expand this to a full soft fruit package including raspberries, blackberries, and red currants."

For more information:
Lucas Wennekers
Mob.: 06-39663271
[email protected]

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