Juan Carlos García: "New segments and markets are going to arrive in red fruits"

The cooperative presented at Fruit Attraction a new variety of blueberries of its own development called “Cupla”.

The Cuna de Platero cooperative presented at Fruit Attraction a new variety of blueberries of its own development baptized as “Cupla”, which it has made available to all producers who wish to grow and market it. This is one more example of the policy followed by the cooperative, based on research as the axis of its development. Cuna de Platero was born more than 30 years ago, when a group of farmers from Moguer (Huelva) set out to pursue a common goal: to bring all the quality of the Moguer fruit to the largest number of households.

Cuna de Platero claims to be a national example of hiring at source, incorporating workers from Morocco, Romania, Poland, Ukraine, Bulgaria, different African countries ... in addition to, of course, Spain, to whom they offer all available means so that they can enjoy decent and comfortable accommodation and conditions.

The production capacity of employment is really high for a company of these characteristics and Cuna de Platero has an annual average of 2.270 workers, reaching up to 4.500 during the campaign season, which represents about 500.000 wages per year.

Cuna de Platero presented its first variety of blueberries at Fruit Attraction. How long has it taken you to research?

  • About ten years. A first stage of five years of observation of individuals and selection of those that had the best characteristics, attending to the agroclimatic conditions of Huelva and our own needs. And another five years it's been at the Community Plant Variety Office for your record.

What characteristics does this variety have compared to others?

  • Cupla is an early variety, with a very good productive performance and very easy handling. Agronomically it is very attractive and, commercially, it maintains an L size throughout the season and a flavor that is very reminiscent of wild blueberry.

Cupla variety packed.

How is the Cupla variety being received by the sector?

  • With great interest, above all, because of the earliness it offers, and because it is available to any blueberry producer, with the corresponding exploitation contract.

Are you also testing new varieties on other crops? Which?

  • We have had our own test fields for at least 15 years, where we test varieties of strawberries, raspberries, blackberries, and even pitaya.

How is the blueberry evolving in the last campaigns?

  • We evolved towards out-of-season varieties. The varieties so far have always been very seasonal, where the important production is in spring and early summer, and now we are looking for early varieties, to start earlier, and later, beyond the summer. Commercially, the evolution is being very positive and the volumes are growing gradually, without big jumps, but maintaining, which allows us to offer products to the markets.

And the rest of red fruits?

  • There is a stability in the acreage of strawberry and raspberry; the blackberry does not grow because there are very few new varieties and new proposals and they are in very few hands; and the blueberry does increase. And in the markets, after the COVID-19 stoppage, which was quite a complex time, and the impact of “Filomena” on quality and quantity in the first part of last season, we were able to close the year quite reasonably. This was due to the fact that we lengthened the strawberry season, which traditionally ends in May. In raspberry, we have been able to produce and market it in optimal conditions.

"WE CONTINUE RESEARCHING AND TESTING FORMATS FOR THE PACKAGING OF OUR PRODUCTS"

What's new in packaging? How is the flowpack working?

  • We continue researching and testing other types of formats that better adapt to the environment and to our fruit. In this sense, we have made progress towards thermosealed and a large part of the fruit is marketed under this system, which allows us to use less plastic.

In the European market, have they peaked or are they still growing?

  • Strawberry is the most mature market in which we work. Raspberry and blueberry still have room for growth. Much of the success in the markets is in the good work of the farmers of Cuna de Platero, who grow excellent quality fruit. Not all households consume berries today and, taking into account their nutritional values ​​and consumer trends, we are confident that new segments and new markets will arrive.

Red fruits need extreme care

And in new markets, where are they headed?

  • Red fruits are products without skin, which need extreme care on their journey to their destination to preserve their quality and properties. This makes the new markets outside of Europe still pilot experiences, with short volumes.

Are you afraid there will be logistics problems in the coming months as you are announcing?

  • At specific moments of the campaign we usually have some logistics problem, it is almost a constant in the sector, but nothing serious. Maybe this year will be a bit more complicated than previous ones, but we will have to see it when it happens and we are sure it will be solved.

Are you noticing effects on crops due to climate change?

  • We do not exactly measure the impact of climate change, but what we do know is that no campaign is the same as the previous one. We have short summers and longer summers, more intense winters and less… the climatic issue influences, because our office is outdoors, and it affects us.

“THE NEW MARKETS OUTSIDE EUROPE ARE STILL PILOT EXPERIENCES WITH SHORT VOLUMES”

Cuna de Platero has always stood out for its social commitment. Are they still in that line?

  • Our commitment goes along several lines, social is one of them. For example, a few years ago we led a very important commitment to digitization; We were the first company in the sector to commit to meeting the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) and adhering to the UN Global Compact, thus showing our commitment to improving our environment through different goals and objectives; and now we are betting on R + D + i.

What is the motto of the company?

  • We work to offer each campaign a guarantee of freshness, fruit with good flavor and with healthy properties.

Previous article

next article

ARTÍCULOS RELACIONADOS

Chilean cherries: A debatable season
Yunnan blueberries are currently in their last season...
Agrivoltaics for berries