The Unica Group has taken another step forward in its merging strategy with the incorporation of Coopaman, S.C.L., a second-tier agricultural cooperative and one of the biggest national garlic producers, based in Las Pedroñeras, Cuenca. This operation strengthens Unica's leading position as the main national vegetable exporter and confirms its growth forecasts, since with this integration it will exceed 400 million kilos by the end of the campaign.
Coopaman, leader in the production of purple garlic in Europe, sells a volume totaling about 20 million kilos (which includes varieties of white, purple, spring violet and white spring garlic) and has a turnover of approximately 30 million Euro. The cooperative was the first company registered in the PGI 'Ajo Morado de Las Pedroñeras' and markets an important part of its production under this quality seal. In the latest campaign (2018/19), the purple variety accounts for around 70% of all garlic sales. The cooperative, which sells its products under the brands Coopaman, Pedroñete and Ajoman, has 2,400 hectares cultivated and employs about 500 workers.
The president of Coopaman, Julio Bacete Gómez, has highlighted the importance of this agreement. "We feel that this is a game changing opportunity for Coopaman, which should open doors for us in the large European distribution in the short and medium term. However, we won't be losing sight of our ultimate purpose, which is none other than guaranteeing the future profitability of our partners, as well as properly preparing ourselves for the changes and innovations that we'll have to face in the coming years in the agri-food sector." Coopaman also highlighted the strategic value of garlic for the region and claims that this operation will ensure the stability of the sector's workers and the liquidations of the partners.
Speaking on behalf of Unica, its president, José Martínez Portero, has shown his satisfaction with the merger "with this great cooperative, which is allowing us to expand our range with a healthy, highly appreciated product; an essential purchase for European households. This will help us sell the products we already have, taking advantage of synergies. In short, this agreement gives us the opportunity to continue growing in both scale and volume, responding to the needs of our customers."
Currently, Coopaman distributes the production of six specialized cooperatives: Cooperativa Ajos de Las Pedroñeras (Las Pedroñeras), Cooperativa San Isidro Labrador (Mota del Cuervo), Cooperativa San Juan (El Provencio), Cooperativa San Julián (La Alberca de Záncara), Cooperativa Manchaflor (San Clemente) and Cooperativa Ajomán (Santa María del Campo Rus), all based in the Castilian-La Manchan province of Cuenca.
More than 70% of Coopaman's garlic production goes to the foreign market and is shipped to the five continents. Its exports go to destinations such as the UK, Germany, Portugal or Italy in Europe, Morocco, Tunisia and Algeria in North Africa, and the US, Canada or Brazil in the Americas, in addition to Australia or Taiwan, among others.
Coopaman's total control on the production gives its garlic a homogeneous quality, and this is highly appreciated by its customers. The cooperative of Las Pedroñeras will lead the garlic project within Unica, as in the Unica structure model, each cooperative manages the product in which it is specialized.
Unica Group confirms its position as the leading national exporter of vegetables and will predictably make it again to the top of the ranking by the end of the campaign. Until now, Unica had 14 member cooperatives with presence in Almeria, Granada, Murcia, Cádiz and Málaga: Cabasc, Casur, Cohorsan, Cota 120, El Grupo, Ferva, ParqueNat, Agrolevante, Parafruts, Camposol, Europeos, GranaGenil, Frutas Segura y García and Virgen del Rocío.
Since 2016, it has been part of the AN Group, which carries out the fresh product marketing for the entire Group through Unica Fresh. Last year, the consolidated turnover of the AN Group reached 1,557 million Euro.