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Asian vegetables in Almeria; an alternative to importing

Is it possible to purchase Asian vegetables without importing them? In Almeria there are products such as Asian and Star cucumbers, Chinese cabbage (pak choi), Violet aubergine, Chinese lettuce (kai choi), long beans, Bao long courgette, Daikon turnips, etc., grown under plastics by the firm Naturinda.

Star and Sponge cucumber (left) and Asian cucumber (right)

"We observed a gap in the sector which we had the opportunity to fill with these kind of products, allowing us to expand the region's crop variety and differentiate our production from the rest of Almeria's producers," explains Rubén Valero, marketer of Naturinda. "After a year of tests in the market, we noticed that there was interest and opportunities for ethnic vegetables."

"These products are difficult to introduce in Europe, as their consumption is much lower than that of Mediterranean products; however, we believe that there is a demand and customers are interested in them and all they need is promotion," explains Rubén.

The main consumers of ethnic products in Europe are immigrants of Asian or African descent, who usually wait for their respective countries' import seasons. However, according to Rubén, these products can be made available all year long, with a much superior quality and at very affordable prices.

Daikon turnip 

"Our main advantage is the possibility to export these products all year round at more affordable prices than those imported, they are also fresher, because road transport is faster and cheaper. Shipments only take three days to arrive in Germany, for example, while a container ship would need 25 days to cover the route from India or Santo Domingo," he affirms.

White courgette

Naturinda was founded in 2007 as a project to commercialise ethnic and Mediterranean products grown in Almeria, with plans of using the area of Campo de Cabo de Gata Níjar for the production of great quality tomatoes. Nowadays, Naturinda is a leading firm in the commercialisation of horticultural ethnic products and is clearly differentiated from other firms within the sector.

Tomato campaign

In addition to ethnic products, Naturinda also grows traditional products from Almeria, such as peppers, courgettes, white courgettes, aubergines, fashion watermelons and, of course, tomatoes, which represent 80% of the production.

"The tomato campaign has been generally good this year, and a success for varieties such as Naturinda's Rebelion, especially in the French market and northern Spain, because of their unique characteristics and great quality," says Rubén Valero.

Current projects include the construction of a greenhouse, which reflects this young firm's desire to continue growing after increasing its revenue by around 20% this year.

For more information:
Rubén Valero
CTN Parque Empresarial Almería
La Mojonera, Almería. Spain
M: +34699993306

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