The Albacete garlic season is expected to be good this season. The province has 9,500 hectares under cultivation this year, leading Spanish garlic production with an estimated harvest of 110 million kilos of garlic.
Last year Spain recorded a record production with more than 250 million kilos and 26,000 hectares of garlic sown.
The harvest of Sprint garlic, which is harvested one month before purple, has almost finished and is being paid at between 0.80 and 0.85 euros per kilo, an "acceptable" price, says the provincial coordinator of Agriculture, Juan Francisco Sánchez. However, the marketing of this vegetable is very conditioned by what happens in China, which with only 52% of the cultivated area of garlic in the world gets 79% of world production.
The good results of recent seasons and the insurance coverage rates that cushion the risks to be assumed, are some of the reasons for the particularly intense growth of this crop in the last three years, which has doubled in hectares and production in the last 15 years. It is a profitable crop and quite mechanized but it needs a lot of manpower.
Workshops in the spotlight
The garlic campaign is carried out thanks to the foreign, Romanian and sub-Saharan seasonal workers, above all, who come to the province attracted by the available wages. The entry of mafias, who keep part of the day's wages paid by the workers, giving rise to situations of labour abuse, forces the authorities to intervene.
The Labour Inspectorate has advised farmers not to use intermediaries to hire day labourers, but to look for labour through the Public Employment Service. Another option is to look for part of the day labourers needed through Temporary Employment Agencies (ETTs), but not the total workforce. Or hire a service company.