The National Garlic Board has analyzed the start of the current Spanish campaign, highlighting that it has kicked off with good prospects thanks to a lack of stocks from last year and a considerable increase in consumer demand. However, despite these good prospects, "the rapid changes in the global market caused by the COVID-19 crisis are creating great uncertainty when it comes to the development of the demand and prices."
In this sense, it warned that China is currently offering goods at very low prices, but for the time being, "the market prefers the Spanish production. However, how this trend will develop in the medium and long-term is unclear."
As for the campaign itself, in earlier areas, such as Andalusia, "concerns about labor shortages have been dissipating and no problems are expected," said the National Garlic Board. Still, in Castile-La Mancha, Spain's main garlic-producing area, and in other regions, such as Extremadura, Madrid or Castile-Leon, "there are still doubts as to whether they will have sufficient workers."
Also, it reported that the intense rains of recent days have delayed the campaign, causing some issues with the earliest garlic, mainly the appearance of garlic stenphiliosis (commonly known as "blanquilla" or "white spot").
The National Garlic Board has stressed that, "in general terms, if the weather is as hot as expected for this time of the year, there should be a good harvest in terms of quality and volume."
At the same time, the entity has expressed concern about the plans for a "greener" new Common Agricultural Policy (CAP), since one of the consequences "is a reduction in the amount of active materials available, making it harder to maintain the productivity and competitiveness of agriculture."
It has also highlighted the sector's significant capacity to generate labor and wealth, with around 1,500,000 daily working shifts generated during this campaign, as well as its positive trade balance, since around 63% of the garlic production in 2019 was sold outside of Spain.