The harvest of organic Bacon and Fuerte avocados is currently in full swing in southern Spain, while the first Hass avocados are expected to start being harvested in the earliest areas in mid-November.
"The harvest started about three weeks ago, although now is when the fruit's quality is optimal, both in terms of fat content and taste," says Fernando Martín, manager of the Granada-based cooperative Procam Bio, specialist in the production of organic fruits and vegetables.
However, despite being at an ideal moment when it comes to quality, the Bacon and Fuerte avocado are not enjoying satisfactory prices. "It is illogical that such low prices are being paid for a product that is currently of such good quality. It seems that consumers all over Europe have definitively discovered Hass avocados and prefer this variety, namely the ones currently arriving from Mexico," explains the producer and exporter. "Strikingly, organic avocados of Spanish origin are highly appreciated by European distribution chains, but they still go for other origins if they offer the Hass variety; or at least that's our perception," he says.
For this reason, many of the producers associated with the cooperative have already renewed their varieties, going from smooth skin to Hass, although there are still significant volumes of the former. "In two weeks, the first early Hass avocado batches from Granada and Málaga will arrive in the markets, although there will be no consistent volumes until mid-December. Also, the European market is eagerly awaiting the start of the organic Hass avocado season in Spain."
In its tropical range, Procam Bio also offers organic mango, focusing especially on late varieties. At the moment, they are finishing with the Kent variety and starting to market the Keitt.
When it comes to organic vegetables, the cooperative is currently fully involved in the Dutch cucumber season. In fact, they are managing to offer large volumes of this, as well as some smaller volumes of French cucumber. Furthermore, they are starting with limited volumes of organic on the vine tomatoes and marmande tomatoes. They expect to have significant volumes of organic tomatoes in about 20 days.
According to Fernando Martín, "in recent campaigns, we have noticed that the supply of organic products has been growing faster than the demand, and although the situation is not as dramatic as some are picturing it, it is raising concerns. In fact, at given times during the campaign, the prices of organic products have fallen to levels that are comparable to those of the conventional, and even below in some cases. This is the reason why many producers are thinking it twice before making the switch to organic production. A great number of companies devoted to conventional production have started new organic lines in recent years, causing the acreage planted to increase and generating oversupply. For those firms, organic products are just a complement to their regular productions, so organic specialists are the most affected by the oversupply."