Agrexco carrots

Over the last few years, Israel has seen its exports of organic carrots increase dramatically, endangering Italy’s position as the leading exporter of organic carrots.

Four years ago, Israel exported a mere 3,500 tonnes, according to leading exporter Agrexco. In 2010, Israel is expected to export more than 20,000 tonnes of organic carrots.

At the moment, Agrexco has one packing station for conventional and organic carrots, but this year the company will launch a new packhouse exclusively for organic carrots.

“This year, we will have a €3m packing station just for organic carrots,” said product manager Shai Shtudiner. “This is to make sure that there is never any confusion between conventional and organic produce. It will also enable us to increase quality. Construction of the new building is due to be completed shortly.”

At the packhouse, the maximum volume per hour will be 20 tonnes. The carrots will be polished, graded and then vetted for blemishes and defects.

'We will be able to supply a better product,” said Mr Shtudiner. “It is a more reliable system, using optical graders. We will be able to pack around 400-500 tonnes a day, depending on how many hours are worked and the general quality of the carrots.”

In April, Agrexco begins its exports to the UK market. Mr Shtudiner anticipates an export volume of some 1,500 tonnes of organic carrots, compared with 1,200 tonnes last season.