Huelva's strawberry sector is being significantly affected by the coronavirus pandemic. In addition to the lack of laborers due to the closure of borders with Morocco, which prevents the arrival of the contingent of seasonal workers hired at origin, there has been a drop in sales.
In a statement to Viva Huelva, the manager of Freshuelva, Rafael Domínguez, acknowledged that consumption has been greatly reduced in the domestic market. The reason for this is the drop in the consumption of fresh produce in general and of fruit in particular, and more specifically of the more perishable products, such as berries.
At an international level, the negative impact on sales is not so bad as of now, but "everything points to things getting worse as the confinement period is extended."
Fortunately, according to one producer and exporter from Huelva, "the lack of sunlight due to the absence of sunny days and the relatively low temperatures are slowing down the harvest and, for the time being, preventing the situation from getting even worse."
Also within the agricultural sector, the Association of Economists of Huelva has warned that transport restrictions may lead to "a shortage of basic foodstuffs" due to the problems reported on farms, as workers "are not being able to access the farms."
In this sense, they have said that the decision made by the government of allowing only one occupant per vehicle, with fines of up to 600,000 Euro and one year in prison for those failing to comply, is causing rural workers to be "unable" to go to their jobs, since "there are many of them who do not have their own vehicles and need to travel in shared cars."