Almeria's watermelon campaign has come to a close and some companies are getting ready to plant other crops. "The watermelon campaign has ended with disastrous prices for producers. They will be lucky if they have managed to even cover the production costs," says Juan Segura Morales, president of the Coprohníjar cooperative.
Red Jasper watermelon
According to Juan Segura, despite the good volumes and high quality of the watermelons, a confluence of factors has caused prices to fall below the usual level. "Prices were already low at the beginning of the campaign and they just got worse later. Competition from third countries and the low temperatures in Europe have been the main causes. We must not forget that 85% of the Spanish production is exported; we rely on consumption in almost all of Europe. Also, watermelons cannot easily be recycled by the industry.
The cooperative continues marketing its products throughout the summer season, although with smaller volumes. For example, it has 50 hectares of tomatoes to fill the market gap in summer. Then it continues with the productions from its partners during the rest of the campaign. Regarding tomatoes, which are the firm's flagship product, Juan Segura says that the Cherry and Red Baby Plum varieties are safe bets with large production volumes. "However, low-volume varieties are becoming increasingly successful, as in the case of the Baby Plum Choc, which arouses interest across Europe, and especially in the Scandinavian markets," says the president of the cooperative.
For the next campaign, the cooperative will use its new 12,000 square meter warehouse in Los Pipaces de San Isidro for the organic line. Juan Segura talked about the importance of safely and reliably separating organic production from conventional production. "Fortunately, there are still companies with a professional conscience. Our cooperative has several certifications which it has managed to maintain and update throughout the year through audits, but we also carry out internal quality controls in order to monitor the quality as much as possible," explains the president of Coprohníjar, adding that "if the bureaucracy was streamlined, it would be simpler to complain about fraud cases in the organic sector, instead of having to go through different intermediaries, such as certification bodies, Councils, governmental instances, etc."
Within the framework of the biological control of pests and its commitment to the environment, the cooperative is collaborating in a project to recover the owl population together with the CECOUAL, SERBAL and OASYS foundations.
Arrival of the chicks to Coprohníjar
"Barn owls were once very common in the rural environment. In areas with intensive agriculture, their number has fallen drastically due to the massive use of agrochemicals. Thanks to the implementation of biological control in our crops, their living conditions are improving. Thanks to them, crops are better protected against insect pests," says Juan Segura.
Barn owl chick that contributes to biological control
Back in the day, Coprohníjar was the first company in the sector to be authorized by the Government of Andalusia to market products from integrated production. With 30 years of experience, it has 34,000 square meters of facilities for handling, packaging and storage, and 200 partners with 450 hectares of crops, 140 of which are organic.
New 12,000 square meter warehouse exclusively devoted to the organic line
Coprohníjar will be at Fruit Attraction 2019 - Stand 9B03