For the Belgian fruit auction (BFV), the Asian market remains a market with great potential in Belgian fruit. Marc Evrard and Thomas Similion of the BFV were represented at the Asia Fruit Logistica last week and Marc also participated in the panel discussion. “The popularity of Belgian Conference pears and apples continues to grow in Asia. Now that the corona restrictions have been lifted in most places, there are more and more possibilities throughout Asia,” explains Marc.
“It is very nice that after 3 years we were finally able to be physically present again to meet our Asian relations and get in touch with new customers,” Marc continues. “Of course, these have been difficult years for trade with much of Asia. Three years ago, we had the forecast that the market in China would increase by 300 percent for us. That was very realistic at the time. The major logistical problems, such as irregularities and congestion, have forced us to focus on consolidating rather than expanding. However, thanks to our good relations, we were able to keep the ship afloat.”
Now that the tunnel seemed to end, more and more lockdowns are still in place in major Chinese cities. “First of all, it is obviously very annoying for all Chinese residents. However, it is now for us to wait and see how it will develop again. We thought we would crawl out of the valley, but now it is difficult to estimate what the coming period will look like. In general, we were able to accommodate everything perfectly through a logistics process, in which all parties involved take their responsibility in ensuring food safety and health of the people involved. This is how we got through the hard times and now we expect to be able to hold on to our share again. In this way, we want to be able to shift our focus towards enlargement again, because the great potential remains undeniable.”
Entering relatively ‘new markets’ in Asia
Outside China, however, there are several countries where the restrictions have been lifted and there are opportunities for the Belgian fruit. “During the fair, we made contacts with parties from India, Thailand, Vietnam, Indonesia, Malaysia and Hong Kong,” explains Marc. “Belgian hardfruit has slowly but surely found its way into these markets as well. For example, where pears are exported exclusively to China, there is a high demand for Belgian apples in India. But the Belgian product has also made its way into the relatively ‘new’ markets such as Vietnam and Thailand.”This does not only apply to the hard fruit, because other product groups are also good. “For example, we see an increasing demand in cherries, which ultimately also has enough potential. We can certainly expand in this area in the coming years and we have therefore been able to make good progress on Asia Fruit Logistica.”