Once Spain, Morocco come into full production, Egypt's pushed out of the European market
The Egyptian strawberry season is still going, and after a few quieter weeks, things are getting busy again. "This and last week, Spain and Morocco had cold rainy weather, while in Egypt, the weather's great. Then things pick up again, though you never know how long this will last," says Alain Tulpin of the Tulpin Group in Belgium.
"An ordinary season" is how he describes the strawberry situation in Egypt this year. "Of course, in these times, that's extraordinary. There are no peaks; fortunately, the previous years' problems aren't an issue this year." However, no more of these strawberries are being sent to the Dutch market. "We get strawberries only for the English and Irish markets. Volumes are generally similar to previous years," Alain explains.
"But the pressure on prices, as in basically every sector, continues unabated." Quality-wise, these year's strawberries are great, he adds. "Last year, it snowed in parts of Egypt around December 15, and it was quite cold. This year, temperatures were at about 25°C just before Christmas. That helped."
Still, Egyptian strawberries do not benefit from the issues in Northern European strawberry cultivation. "Spain will mainly benefit from that. There's usually significant, relatively expensive Belgian and Dutch fruit by late March. But Spanish strawberries have been on the market for a while, so consumers would rather pay more for the Dutch or Belgian product," Tulpin continues.