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"A price crisis is coming"
Spain: 30% of Murcia's crops have already been relocated"I don't know if the mayors of the Region of Murcia are going to allow the dismantling of the fruit and vegetable sector, on which up to 80% of their economy relies, with the consequent impoverishment of municipalities and cities," said Juan Marín Bravo, leader of Proexport, who has recently become president of the sector's union in Europe (Eucofel). The New Year has started with many threats and issues caused by the lack of water and the decline in the Region's production. 30% of the crops have already been relocated, the wages paid to those in charge of the harvest and handling have dropped by another third, and hundreds of trucks have run out of produce to carry at the end of the year. Marín Bravo believes that there is still time to react and prevent the loss of jobs and market share.
Everything will rely on the securing of water resources. "We are not seeing light at the end of the tunnel, yet," he adds. When taking stock of last year and looking at the prospects for 2018, the leader of the exporters warns that "the Region of Murcia has been recording some impoverishment in recent months."
Many cooperatives and companies "have had to find alternative solutions, emigrating outside the Region" in order to find somewhere to grow their crops. This relocation already affects 30% of the crops, he warns. "That requires moving people, renting farms and raising costs, because you cannot tell loyal customers who you have been working with for 25 years that you cannot supply them the product because there is no water." Striving for each area to change its production model and make do with the water they have can only be motivated by ignorance," he stresses.
This situation can only continue for another year or two, according to the exporters, since many are already suffering losses. The threat is that customers will leave if there is no alternative, and this will entail losing market share. The president of Proexport pointed out that this month there will also be a 30% decline in the workload in both the field and the warehouses, approximately. Many cooperatives in Campo de Cartagena, for example, are not even reaching 80% of their usual yield.
Trucks without shipments to carry
"The unions are starting to worry for the first time after seeing that the workers in the sector don't have their usual schedules, since a lot less is planted and harvested. This is something we'll eventually see in the unemployment statistics," he adds.
To this we must add the "hundreds of trucks that have been unable to carry any shipments in the last weeks of the year, namely due to the lack of produce available," says Juan Marín. Sources of Froet explained that in December there are usually ups and downs, because a great volume is supplied to Central Europe at the beginning of the month and before Christmas, but this year this has been even more noticeable.
Vegetable canning and processing companies (devoted to frozen products) are also noticing the decline in the production. The president of Proexport and Eucofel warns that "a price crisis is coming."
Publication date: 1/10/2018
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