With 120,000 tons of pears, BFV represents more than a third of Belgium’s production. Its CEO, Filip Lowette, has confirmed the more acceptable price levels recorded this year compared with the 2018/2019 campaign, which was affected by heat and drought. The Sweet Sensation pear is the only variety registering a poorer season, with a 50% reduction in the harvested volumes. BFV enjoyed a good season, with a 40% increase in turnover during the last trimester of 2019 compared with 2018, thanks also to the more balanced EU crop, which totalled around 2.1 million tons. BFV increased its supply of organic fruit to 5,000 tons, with 245ha of certified orchards and more under conversion.
Belgica, Morgana & Joly Red rising stars
The Belgica variety propelled BFV once again to a successful start to the apple season, with 2,000 tons marketed at a good price, due to its splendid fruit quality, colour and taste. Introduced four years ago, Joly Red is the second youngest variety club. It appeals to consumers in the Middle East and Far East due to its attractive flavour (Envy and Fuji type), high levels of colour (80% red) and sugar (+15º brix). Morgana is the latest variety club, launched by BFV in 2019, and with 40ha planted so far in Belgium. Its superior eating qualities are positioning it in the higher segment of the apple market. Significant volumes will be offered from 2020 in partnership with Melinda in Italy, Krings Obstbau Vertriebs in Germany and Margraeten Fruitveiling in Holland. Jonagold and Jonagored are still the major apple varieties at BFV. The smaller calibres of this season make it more suitable for export markets like India and the UK.
BFV’s berry success story
The firm continues its strong growth in the berry and cherry category, with 3,000 tons of strawberries and 3,500 tons of cherries (+50%) marketed in 2019. The cherry season runs from mid-June until mid-August, with the main varieties being Kordia, Regina and Sweetheart. Every fruit is graded and hydro-cooled using Unitech technology. Strawberries are supplied for over 9 months from March, combining all growing systems of soil, covered and hydroponics.