The president of the Artichoke Association of the Vega Baja has said that the start of the campaign has been delayed for a few days due to the warm weather recorded this summer. "This has caused the sale prices in recent weeks to be higher than usual, since there was a smaller supply, although the situation will normalize soon as more kilos enter the market."
Regarding the campaign's statistics, Martínez points out that the acreage devoted to the crop is very similar to that of the previous year, about 2,000 hectares. Growers do not dare to plant more due to the uncertainty caused by the water supply issues.
"This situation hinders our ability to grow," says the president of the Artichoke Association of the Vega Baja, who adds that "it makes no sense for us to know how to reuse water and handle it in a sustainable manner if we do not have it."
As far as the production itself is concerned, Diego Martinez says that the total volume this campaign will exceed 25,000 tons. This figure is similar to that of previous seasons. Moreover, the quality of the artichokes will be high, as "the growing conditions in the Vega Baja are ideal and that tends to equal success."
Also, the president of the Artichoke Association of the Vega Baja has shown his concern about the rising competition from Egypt and Peru, which is mainly affecting the canning industry. He said that the agreement reached with the United States to reduce tariffs is important, although it is still far from the zero tariff that Peru has.
"What we are most concerned about is that we are having these competition problems in our own country, which is one of the world's leading artichoke producers." It is striking for us to find canned artichokes from Peru on the shelves of stores that are just a few meters from the local production areas. Those canned artichokes have traveled nearly 10,000 kilometers. I encourage people to look at the origin of what they buy, because those small gestures are vital for our sector."
The president of the quality brand has also thanked the support of the dozen municipalities integrated in this group, and has asked for more commitment to the municipalities that are not part of the association. In this regard, he announced that they will once again send them a letter to ask them to join the project.
"Artichokes are much more than a product: it is part of our gastronomy; a hallmark of the region, its landscapes, its environment and its agriculture. Joining the association is just a matter of will, and we need the whole region and its business network to stand together in order to better face the challenges that the sector has ahead."
Pablo González: What you have is unique
For his part, the sponsor of the 2018/2019 campaign, chef Pablo González, has highlighted the value of the Vega Baja's fields. "You live here; this is your environment, what you stand behind. But many times, someone from outside has to come to tell you that what you have is unique, and that you are lucky to have such fields and crops."
National gastronomy competition
With regard to the actions for this campaign, the Artichoke Association of the Vega Baja will continue working in the classrooms with the youngest, collaborating in events and initiatives and, as a novelty, it will also organize a national gastronomy contest.
Another important milestone in 2019 will be the organization of the International Artichoke Symposium in the Vega Baja.