The increase in the demand for garlic in Spain since the start of the coronavirus outbreak, together with the shortage of stocks from the previous campaign, entails good prospects for the upcoming campaign in Castile-La Mancha, which will start around May 25.
According to statements made to AgroalimentariaCLM by Julio Bacete, president of the National Garlic Board, this one is expected to be "a great campaign, like last year's. In Spain as a whole, the prospect is to harvest 250 million kilos, and in Castile-La Mancha will account for around 175 million kilos," he says.
The weather conditions have been good. “It has rained a lot in March and April, with cool temperatures. The lack of frosts has caused the garlic to sprout faster than in a normal cycle, so the campaign may kick off a little early.”
This favorable situation is a relief for a sector which had been unable to cover its production costs for a few years, forced at the same time to deal with the entry of Chinese garlic for cheaper prices against which they couldn't compete.
As for prices, this campaign has been better so far. "Transactions have been carried out with prices oscillating between 2.5 and 3 Euro at the warehouse, when last year they didn't exceed 2 Euro," says Bacete.
The situation in recent months, with China's borders closed at the beginning of 2020, led to the international market setting its sights on Spain and demanding more Castilian garlic, making it possible to recover some markets which had been flooded with garlic from third countries in recent years.
"It is difficult to open new markets with garlic, because it is a product that has been exported throughout history, and two thirds of the Spanish production have always gone outside our borders. However, this year we have been surprised by the US and Canada, which have ordered a lot more than they usually do,” says the president of the National Garlic Board.