The consumption of strawberries has fallen due to changes in consumer behavior and to the restrictions on mobility in place since the declaration of the state of alarm. As stated by the association of producers and exporters of strawberries from Huelva (Freshuelva), strawberry sales have fallen by around 50% compared to the volume of a normal campaign.
According to Asaja Huelva, 80% of the strawberry production is exported to the United Kingdom, Italy, France and Germany, and these markets have considerably reduced their demand due to restrictions on mobility intended to contain the spread of COVID-19. This has caused a decrease in consumption, especially in the case of products as perishable as strawberries and other berries. Furthermore, these countries have a longer tradition as berry consumers than Spain, so the repercussion on sales has been significant.
The drop in sales in the domestic market is also noticeable, mostly because consumers are shopping fewer times per week and choosing less perishable fruits than strawberries.
For this reason, this sector has asked the Ministry of Agriculture for help through Fepex, its national federation.
The Council of Agriculture has joined in this request, asking the Government of Spain for "exceptional measures" for berry producers, who have been especially affected by the health crisis of the COVID-19.
To alleviate this situation, the Council of Agriculture is considering the application of the proposals made by Freshuelva and Interfresa, the Interprofessional Association of the Andalusian Strawberry. These include compensations for not harvesting the crops, refinancing at zero cost or the postponement or cancellation of the planned tax payments schedule.
The Council of Andalusia is also looking into the sector's demand for a helpline through the European Agricultural Guarantee Fund (EAGF) or the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD). It also announced that it will launch a promotional campaign to promote the consumption of soft fruit.
The province of Huelva is the leading strawberry producer at European level and is also the world's largest exporter, with 1,130 million, and is capable of generating 100,000 jobs during the harvest season.
Source: Efe / lavanguardia.com