By early November all the last pumpkin fields have been harvested. The early crop estimates ranged from poor to above average in Europe and anticipating very limited supply on the Chinese side. Rising prices could be expected. Rhumveld’s responsible buyer for pumpkin seeds, Roland Hartl, recently visited the Austrian and Chinese pumpkin farms. He will share his view on the market.
Over the last few years pumpkin has become a very attractive crop for many European farmers. 10 years ago the main planting areas were Austria and its surrounding countries like Hungary, Slovenia, Croatia, Serbia etc. but due to low prices for other traditional crops, like corn and soya, pumpkin cultivation has become interesting to farmers all over Europe. New production areas in Eastern Europe are also offering as well. Together with favourable weather conditions this year this has lead to a huge amount of pumpkin available on the market.
Basically 3 factors are today influencing the current European pumpkinseed prices:
- The remainder of left over from last crop
- Enlarged planting area
- New seeds that lead to above average yield
Taking the above into consideration it is quite understandable why the current prices for AAA grade European pumpkin seeds are at record low levels and are not foreseen to go up in the near future, unless the demand grows dramatically.
A somewhat contrasting picture in China. Firstly, grown without shell (GWS) pumpkin seed production area remains as low as it has ever been today and the local in shell market continues to get stronger and stronger. Local demand is growing faster than production nowadays.
This year the GWS planting area has been reduced by about 40 – 70 % (Chinese figures vary from region to region). As GWS is produced only for export purposes this resulted in higher raw material prices and the expectation/hope for high sales prices. Looking back to Anuga very unrealistic price indications were shared by Chinese suppliers. But as the European market showed no buying interest at those levels, prices have come down to more realistic levels now.
Shine skin pumpkin seed is more driven by the local demand in China, less by the availability. So here we might see some price increase towards Chinese new year (Feb 18), but in general, and especially for good quality AA shine skin, we see this as providing a great option at the moment.
We at Rhumveld will continue monitoring the international market developments for you to ensure the best quality at good market prices. Contract farming in Europe and supplier audits in China give us a good insight into the market which we use to the benefit of our customers.