The president of Proexport, Juan Marin Bravo, stated in Proexport's General Assembly, which was held in Murcia, that the association was facing up to the issues, such as water, Brexit, PAC, agricultural prices, lack of authorizations for active materials for crops, climate change, the demands of the chains, plastics, minimum wages and hourly control, and the competition in Europe and Africa.
The Region of Murcia's fruit and vegetable sector's meeting motto was Looking to the future, and it focused on innovation and gastronomy. "The associates of Proexport face these challenges for the future by innovating, communicating more, making constructive proposals, negotiating here, in Madrid or Brussels with honesty and transparency, cooperating with the entire supply chain and working each day to lead increasingly better agriculture."
"Proexport and its companies will always be part of the Region of Murcia and the Southeastern agricultural sector, complying with the laws and regulations, being responsible farmers, the economic, social, and environmental sustainability of the sector, carrying out best farming practices, generating employment, development, and prosperity in the towns and counties in which we develop our activity: Murcia, Almeria, and Alicante," said Marin to those who criticize or threaten to end with 'The healthiest orchard in Europe'.
Marin displayed the association's open spirit to dialogue and its independence to the political representatives and authorities present at the event, which included the acting president of the Autonomous Community, Lopez Miras, the government delegate, Francisco J. Jiménez, the PSRM-PSOE general secretary, Diego Conesa, the national deputy, Miguel Angel Garaulet (Cs), and the regional deputy, Pascual Salvador (VOX), by saying: "we are politically and ideologically independent, loyal to our governors here, in Madrid or Brussels, pro-Europeans, open and close to everyone."
"We are a diverse organization, with partners from Pulpi to Pilar de la Horadada, but that have productions in different Autonomous Communities. We are open to companies that look to the future without fear and that have the desire to improve, cooperate, and contribute to dignify the sector," he added.
Agro-innovation and gastronomy
Proexport companies defend their productions internationally through innovation. The Professor of Plant Production and vice-rector of Innovation and Enterprise of the Polytechnic University of Cartagena, Alejandro Perez Pastor, highlighted how Proexport "is involving fruit and vegetable companies in innovation projects."
Perez described the major advances being developed by the fruit and vegetable companies of Proexport: drones contributing images to differentiate the maturity, size and plant disease, sensors in machinery to improve the use of resources, research to maintain traditional seeds of the toad skin melon carried out by Procomel, methods of sensory analysis to know consumer preferences in Looije, natural pollination in macro tunnels in Pozo Sur, the implementation of 100% biological control in the production of the Paloma group, the first company that has a verified carbon water footprint in hydroponic crops, the introduction of new varieties being carried out by companies such as Gs and Campo de Lorca, Primaflor's underground irrigation to reduce water consumption, and many other initiatives in the horticulture sector.
Then, chef Pablo Gonzalez-Conejero highlighted the importance of horticultural production for haute cuisine.
Stability in the 2018-2019 campaign
During the General Assembly, Proexport members reviewed the evolution of the 2018-2019 campaign, which ends next August. The campaign has been more or less stable for most products.
Products such as broccoli and cauliflower, or vegetables such as celery, arugula, and other minor crops have experienced greater stability than in previous seasons. The artichoke campaign, which registered a smaller production than in the previous season, but had a good quality, was also stable.
The pepper, whose campaign still continues, had no competition from Almeria in its start, which favored its profitability. Proexport's Assembly approved the creation of a Pepper Sector in its midst because of the importance that pepper is acquiring in Murcia's exports.
Even though they have not registered big differences in production compared to previous years, the profitability of iceberg lettuce and tomato has been affected either by an excess of local supply or by the entry of competition from Holland at the end of the campaign in the Region.
The acting president of the Region of Murcia, Fernando Lopez Miras, acknowledged Proexport's work in uniting the sectors from Murcia, Alicante, and Almeria. "They are an example of working together for a common goal." He praised their involvement in promoting the consumption of fruit and vegetables among Murcian schoolchildren and their commitment to society.