Leading Belgian firm confirms excellent season for new Sweet Sensation pear and Belgica and Joly Red apple varieties
“The three varieties are proving a big success on the Belgian and German markets, where they have achieved good quality positioning,” said Filip Lowette. The Conference pear export season ended in mid-June with record export volumes: 105,000 tons were sold, 5,000 tons more than last year. BFV has strengthened its position on the Belgian, European and Chinese markets too, with sales of 10,000 to 15,000 tons per month. The company has also been able to respond to all the additional demand from European volume retailers interested in Belgian fruit. The 2015/16 apple season saw 95,000 tons marketed while summer fruit sales were 10,000 tons. “The absence of the Russian market is a real concern for our organisation,” Lowette said. European apple stocks at 1 April 2016 stood at 2 million tons, double those of six years earlier (01/04/2007).
Truval Classic, Jonaplus and Joly Red
BFV has also been able to achieve genuine value added for its growers with club labels for top-class Truval Classic, Jonaplus and Joly Red apples. “In the context of strong competition, quality rather than price has become the main criterion for competitiveness,” Lowette pointed out. BFV’s principal label, Truval, continues to make the difference as it is recognised both at home and on European and international markets.
This year’s crop of the new Joly Red apple variety is expected to be around 4000 tons. Its launch has positioned it as a top of the range variety and it is showing very good potential demand in Belgium, Germany, the United Kingdom and Scandinavia. “Asia is also showing strong interest in Joly Red,” Lowette added.
Cherries to measure
BFV is continuing to professionalise its supplies of summer fruit, particularly cherries, thanks to better variety selection and a perfect cold chain. New varieties in larger sizes and with better eating and keeping quality are being planted every year. The orchards are protected by netting to ensure the volume potential and quality of the fruit. The selection system is equipped with electronic graders and hydrocoolers to extend the fruit’s shelf life by a week. “Every year we are seeing more interest in this type of product from major retailers in Belgium and neighbouring countries, “ said Lowette.
Regarding the estimates for the next crop of apples and pears the BFV is expecting by mid-August a clair information from its farm members.