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“The new garlic harvest in Europe will depend on labor”

The demand for garlic on the European market is very high. Prices have skyrocketed and stocks are limited. In terms of distribution, the situation is more complicated because there is a shortage of products.

“In Spain, there is a real shortage for the end of this season,” reports Bruno Volonteri of CondiFrance. “The other producing countries do not have large volumes available either. Argentina had a small harvest and the country’s economic activity has now slowed down due to the coronavirus. The Egyptian harvest is mainly intended for Australia, Taiwan, Brazil and Pakistan.”

With a nearly nonexistent residual stock, the new European season could guarantee high prices, favorable for the producers. “But given the importance of manual labor for the garlic harvest, it will all depend on the availability of labor in the coming months.” The first production areas in Spain will start harvesting in about a month. “Normally, workers from Eastern Europe or Morocco come to work the harvest, but no one knows when borders will open again.”

“The same goes for Italy and France,” adds Sylvain Mazeaud, head of management at CondiFrance. “The French dry garlic harvest starts about one month to one and a half month after Spain, which leaves little time to get organized. But it is not clear if all the garlic can be harvested, dried and prepared correctly. Without labor, there is always a risk that it will rot in the fields. However, the situation will be much more complicated to manage for the French fresh green garlic, harvested from the end of April and requiring significant human resources for harvesting, peeling and trimming.”

Logistical challenges
In terms of logistics, Sylvain points out that it is difficult to find carriers to deliver the orders. “Because of the coronavirus, many drivers do not work anymore. Besides, some carriers have reduced their number of trucks and cannot guarantee the delivery date anymore. There is generally a delay of at least one day.”

Bruno Volonteri and Sylvain Mazeaud at Fruit Logistica 2020

Uncertain market
Part of the CondiFrance range is intended for catering. With the closure of restaurants and collectives, the demand for those products has stopped completely.

The stocks reserved for this sector, with a short expiration date, will be destroyed.

CondiFrance also supplies wholesalers on the different National Interest Markets. The closure of open-air markets in France has led to a significant drop in volumes. “Our clients partly supply open-air market resellers, and the demand from them has strongly decreased.” The recent reopening of 25% of the markets does not necessarily improve the situation. “Most of the time, these are small village markets, not large markets where significant volumes can be sold.”

“At Rungis, the activity is greatly penalized by the closure of the open-air markets in Paris. Additionally, the Rungis market was closed on Monday, April 6th, due to this health crisis. There remains to be seen what the future consequences will be. The market changes regularly depending on the measures taken. There is total uncertainty.”

Part of the range “Garlic” CondiFrance, traditionally for the wholesale market

For more information:
Bruno Volonteri/Sylvain Mazeaud
Phone: +33 (0)5 63 65 66 67  
Sales services:
Bernard Prado (France, Belgium)
Didier Mouneyrac (France, Switzerland, Luxemburg):
Thomas Schorn (Germany, Austria, Denmark, Sweden)
Sylvain Mazeaud (for all other countries) 


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