Almeria's vegetable campaign, which started a few weeks ago, is now almost at cruising speed. The start was not easy; the weather caused prices to fall at an unusual time, since the market has been saturated due to the clash between the end of the European campaigns and the start of Almeria's. However, prospects for the coming weeks are good.
Ginés González, manager of Frutas Hortisol.
"The market has had a lot more supply than usual at this time," says Ginés Gonzalez, manager of the Almeria-based Frutas Hortisol. "Until a few days ago, the temperatures were more typical of spring, both in Almeria and in other European countries. Until recently, the Netherlands had maximum temperatures of 17 degrees Celsius and minimums of 9 degrees, and this helped growers extend their campaigns. The same has happened in Portugal and France, which were able to supply tomatoes at prices far below the cost of production."
According to Ginés, large distribution chains started to place Spanish produce on their shelves about two weeks ago, although with insignificant volumes. "Last week, Spanish produce accounted for roughly 50% of the total, and this week this percentage is reaching 80%."
Gines points out that prices are starting to increase with the arrival of cold temperatures, especially for tomatoes on the vine, which have become over 50% more expensive in three days, although round tomatoes in bulk are still cheap. Cucumbers and peppers are also beginning to rise timidly. "All indications are that prices will enter an upward trend in the coming weeks," he affirms.
Headquartered in Aguadulce, Almeria, Hortisol works with both individual producers and cooperatives to market fruits and vegetables from Almeria and Murcia, shipping about 12 million kilos per year. "We work with large retail chains, wholesale markets and small retailers, without distinction, because small customers are precisely the ones who have allowed us to grow. Our products are devoted to both the domestic and export markets. We work more with the Spanish market during the summer, spring and autumn, while in winter we export 90% of the production to Central European, Scandinavian and Eastern countries," explains the manager.
Sales team at Frutas Hortisol
Until the ban was imposed, Russia was one of the most important destinations. "We had been working for twelve years with Russia, where we were shipping about 6 million kilos per season. It was a very hard blow for us, but we have managed to introduce more volumes to the other markets in which we operate and we want to continue this strategy."
Hortisol will start exporting organic produce in 2016
From January, Hortisol will start exporting organic products. "We have already scheduled the marketing of organic vegetables from week 1 to 52, starting with tomatoes on the vine. Health awareness is becoming a popular concept in Europe and we want to take part in it," assured Ginés González. "While we can always improve the way we produce and trade, I think that this sector has a great future in the long term, both for organic and conventional products."