Murcian producers, increasingly limited by water shortages
Spanish broccoli will be needed earlier in Europe
The countries of central and northern Europe still have their own production, so the export campaign has yet to reach its peak for Spanish broccoli. This usually happens in late October or early November; however, this year it is expected to start earlier due to adverse weather conditions in countries like the United Kingdom and the Netherlands, major producers of this vegetable.
"The abundant rains in the United Kingdom and the Netherlands have caused many cases of botrytis in broccoli crops, so we expect the great European distribution chains to begin the transition to Spanish broccoli within ten or fifteen days," explains Ignacio Domènech, President of Proexport's Broccoli Department.
According to the expert, the early broccoli production in Murcia, the main production area, is expected to increase by between 5 and 10%. "The scarcity of water in the fields of Lorca and Cartagena has forced growers to plant in high areas, around 1,000 metres above sea level, with all the risks of frost that this entails. Meanwhile, in the lower areas, the volume is expected to be similar to that of the previous year, or even slightly smaller, due to the water shortages. "The Tajo-Segura transfer is bringing very little water and we depend on the wells and the desalination plants," points out Ignacio Domènech.
At present, Spanish broccoli is mainly intended for the domestic market and is also exported to Middle Eastern countries such as Saudi Arabia and Qatar, where programs are growing stronger during the spring-summer period.
According to Ignacio Domènech, "the strong heat waves in July caused quality problems in Murcia during August, and we had to throw a lot of product away, which caused prices to reach very high levels. In about 2 weeks, they should start falling again with the arrival of the production from the mid and lower areas. The quality at the moment is also high."
It should be noted that Spain's per capita consumption of broccoli is still increasing. "Over the last three years, there has been a double-digit consumption growth of broccoli in Spain and this year it could rise again by 20%. Consumption has grown so much that there is now hardly any oscillation between summer and winter," affirms Ignacio Domènech. Some of the main reasons for this growth, according to Domènech, is the increase in consumer awareness about this vegetable and its health benefits, driven by television cooking programs and health blogs.
Publication date: 10/3/2017
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