Stargrow expects to substantially increase volumes to this market during the 2024 season, especially in the early harvest window
South Africa’s Stargrow Fruit Marketing is anticipating a strong market ahead of the arrival of the first new-season volumes of Celina blush pears.
Sauer Kriger, who heads up the company’s trading division, said customers are reporting increased demand due to the smaller than normal Northern Hemisphere crop. “We are already into the third week of packing Celinas and expect to enter into empty markets across the world,” he told Fruitnet.
“Celina offers our customers the unique opportunity to sell the first blush pears in their respective markets every year being the earliest commercially available blush pear variety in South Africa. With a size profile larger than other blush pears it enables us to target a wider market spread which leads to increased returns back to farm-gate for our growers.”
Over the past four seasons, Stargrow has focused on developing all of the major blush pear markets and it plans to continue to build on this momentum going into the 2024 season. One example is China, which returned very competitive prices in 2023 and is eagerly anticipating the arrival of the 2024 crop, Kriger said.
Stargrow expects to substantially increase volumes to this market during the 2024 season, especially in the early harvest window.
Apart from the China and the European Union, other markets where Celina sales are gaining momentum include Russia, Canada, Vietnam, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore and Hong Kong.
Celina’s ability to be ripened has also led to an increase in uptake in the UK retail sector under the management of World Wide Fruit. “We have found the variety to be a positive addition to the pear catalogue,” said WWF’s Keith Butterworth.
“The key attributes are the brand name aligned to the appearance of the fruit and in particular the capability to market the fruit both as an unripe and ripe variety. This opens wider marketing opportunities with most of the sales in the UK currently for ripe fruit.”
Stargrow said its growers will continue to harvest Celina over the next three weeks.