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Jan van Bergeijk, Frutas Remolino (Spain):
“Finding good workers is becoming an ever-larger problem”
The production of Spanish raspberries has remained fairly stable in recent years, and has only had a small expansion. “Production and demand are quite stable at the moment,” says Jan van Bergeijk from Frutas Remolino.
Frutas Remolino is part of the Plusberries Group, which includes six companies that are specialised in strawberries, raspberries, blackberries, blueberries and stone fruit. Within the group, Jan is the general commercial manager, and Luisa Pereiras is responsible for raspberries. “Sometimes there’s over-production and sometimes there’s underproduction, but this is normal in the production of raspberries. Supply and demand are well-balanced. Qualitatively, the raspberries are very good in the dry second half of the year. The raspberry prices are between 8 and 10 euro per kilo.”
Jan van Bergeijk and Luisa Pereiras
The raspberries from Frutas Remolino are sold throughout Europe. “We don’t really have a market that stands out. The UK has always been a large market, and I expect slightly less growth there this year. Brexit will probably not have much effect on the export of raspberries, it’s more of a luxury product after all, and the price differences won’t be too bad. Other sectors will be affected by it more, even though people will always have to eat.”
Jan experiences some competition from Morocco, and probably from Portugal in spring. “Around this time of year Portugal has a bit less production, but competition will shift from Morocco to Portugal a bit more in spring. Although I think that market can handle it,” Jan says.
Despite the dry autumn, the company currently has enough water to irrigate. “It’s good for the fruit that it’s been dry in recent weeks. Rain isn’t good for ripening fruits. We currently don’t have a shortage of water. It’s not well-distributed by politics, because there’s plenty of water in Huelva in principle.” Just like in the Netherlands, the sector has a shortage of workers. “The shortage of good workers is becoming ever-larger. We have to prepare ourselves well in advance to look for workers, and we have to make the work as appealing as possible. The EU should make the work more appealing to people. It’s healthy to be active.”
For this year, Jan is looking into new varieties. “We’re looking for new varieties that are better than the current ones regarding flavour, quality and colour. Labour is also going to play a part in future, so we’re selecting varieties that are less labour-intensive, in order to continue to be competitive,” Jan concludes.
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Publication date: 1/8/2018
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