Spain: "The crop that goes through the greatest difficulties is that of blueberries"

Interview with Alberto Garrocho, president of Freshuelva

Alberto Garrocho, president of Freshuelva, has offered an interview to the newspaper Huelva Information about the 2019 strawberries campaign, its balance and the problems they have faced and that need urgent solution.

"This year we enjoy exceptional quality throughout the year. The fruit is very good. On the other hand, as for the quantity, it has been a very rare campaign for the loss of many plants and the need to replant a part, even with the definitive loss of some plots. The calculations indicate that there will be a lost 25% plantation, "says Garrocho.

The commercialized strawberry production has been reduced by 4% in the campaign 18 week compared to the previous one. The commercialized production of raspberry has grown in that week of the order of a 7,5% with respect to the previous one. As regards the blueberry, the campaign reaches its equator. In relation to prices, for strawberries prices have decreased. In the eighteenth week the price received by the farmer for the raspberry recovered an 6,2% with respect to the previous week, although the price is lower than the same week of the two previous campaigns. As for the blueberry, the price at origin continues to fall, being that week more than a 7% lower than the previous one. We hope that in the final stretch the prices will rise a bit, especially due to the scarcity of strawberries in the market.

"The crop that goes through the greatest difficulties is that of blueberries," continues Garrocho. "Excess production is causing a complicated situation. There are farmers who have started plots because this fruit has entered into a dynamic in the market that makes the sector is not competitive with other producing countries. The competition is very strong from Morocco, where huge plantations have been carried out, as has also happened in Portugal. Exporting to China may be a solution, but encouraging national consumption is also very interesting. "

"We are very concerned about the lack of manpower. In mid-March, companies have to have a full staff and this has not been the case this year. We are going to ask the Spanish Administration to look for new countries to recruit another labor force. " Morocco is the main competition of Huelva in the production of strawberries, blueberries and raspberries, although France and Italy are also producing countries.

The United Kingdom is the third market for the export of strawberries, with an 16% in 2018, so the uncertainty about the Proposed referendum on United Kingdom membership of the European Union It is affecting the sector of the red fruits of Huelva.


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