Importers have struggled with unprecedented challenges in the last few years as a result of frequent outbreaks of Covid-19. Importers deal with a lot of uncertainty related to distribution, labor, and resources. It is of vital importance in this uncertain market to flexibly adjust operation policies, accurately observe changes in market demand, and consistently guarantee product quality.
A spokesperson for Guangzhou Berda Fruit Co., Ltd., one of the leading import companies in the fruit market, recently talked about their experience in the import orange market. Berda Fruit primarily manages import of citrus fruits and grapes. (Picture: Egyptian oranges)
"This year the import volume of Egyptian oranges is 70%-80% lower than last year. Manager Li of Berda Fruit talked about the market conditions for Egyptian oranges this year. "This is the middle of the sales season and the price is quite good around 145-150 yuan [21.79-22.54 USD] per box. The price is relatively high because the supply volume is small. In the end, however, the overall product movement of Egyptian oranges is rather slow. The main buyers of Egyptian oranges are restaurants and beverage shops. First, they are not that eager to buy import fruit because the procedures and paperwork involved is rather troublesome.
"Second, beverage shops buy oranges to squeeze them for fresh orange juice, but the trend is currently for lemon-based drinks, so demand for oranges is limited. Third, supermarkets are not that eager to stock their shelves with Egyptian oranges. That is why product movement is slow. We expect the import volume of Egyptian orangs to further decline in the coming years. Egyptian exporters are currently looking for alternative markets, and Chinese importers are careful with the volumes they purchase."
South African blood oranges
In addition to Egyptian oranges, Berda Fruit also imports South African Navel oranges. "This is the harvest season of the South African Navel orange. The weather conditions are regular. The product quality and production volume are both quite good. Farmers predict an abundant harvest. In the last few years the Chinese market absorbed about 5%-7% of the South African Navel orange export volume, and the volume did not grow much. The main markets for South African Navel oranges are in Europe and the Middle East."
When asked about the impact of the Russian invasion of Ukraine on export to the Chinese market, manager Li replied, "South Africa exports around 3,000 containers of oranges to Russia every year, but export to Russia is currently halted. China would only be able to absorb a fourth or a fifth of that volume at most, so the impact of this conflict on export to China is limited." (Picture: South African grapefruit)
Berda Fruit will shift its focus to South African grapefruit in June. The sales season of South African grapefruit has only just started, but the price is already coming down. The opening price was around 280 yuan [42.08 USD] per box, but now the price is only around 80 yuan [12.02 USD] per box.
According to manager Li: "The price came down because there is simply not enough demand for South African grapefruit in the Chinese market. Chinese consumers do not have the habit of eating grapefruit fresh. Moreover, the prices in Japan and Korea are quite good, so a number of exporters has already switched to these markets. And so the supply volume to the Chinese market is growing smaller."
South African Navel oranges
In previous years, around this time of year, Chinese processing factories would have already started to process grapefruit, but this year they have not yet begun. Most of the processing factories are located in the wider Yangzi River Delta region, and due to repeated outbreaks of Covid-19, these factories have not yet fully resumed operations. Fruit reserves are building in warehouses until these factories can resume operations, and that leads to waste.
"We hope, of course, that these circumstances will soon improve. The outbreak of Covid-19 was largely brought under control last summer, and the supply volume and sales volume of South African grapefruit were both stable."
"The Chinese import volume of oranges is not that big. Some importers think that the smaller import volume will stimulate sales, but I think that conditions will be more or less the same as last year."
For more information:
Guangzhou Berda Fruit Co., Ltd.
Tel.: +86 159 0204 0737