The greenhouses of Almería are already finishing the transplant of seedlings for the new export horticultural campaign, in which tomatoes continue to lose ground, while other vegetables, such as peppers or zucchini, keep expanding season after season.
Since July, nurseries have carried out the important task of supplying plants to producers, thereby guaranteeing the quality of the productions which will later be exported to the most demanding international markets.
"In Almería, we could say that 95% of the acreage is already planted," says the production manager of an important nursery in Almería, who confirms a further reduction in the acreage devoted to tomato cultivation this season.
"It is true that the area planted with tomatoes is a little smaller each year. This time, it has been reduced by around 8-10%, while other products, such as peppers and zucchini, have expanded. The main factor behind this is the financial yield. Tomatoes have very high production costs from seed to handling. In tomato growing areas where long-cycle tomatoes are planted (from August to April), the production hasn't fallen as much, but in areas where two plantings are required in the same greenhouse, the financial return is generally too low."
"Specialties and niche products offer greater profitability in the tomato segment, although the area devoted to them in Almería is not high due to the challenges their cultivation entails," says the specialist.
The reduction in the area devoted to tomatoes in Almería has resulted in an increase in the acreage of other products. "This season, in the area of Poniente de Almería (El Ejido, Roquetas, Adra) peppers have expanded the most, while in the Levante of Almería (the area of Campo de Níjar), the biggest growth has been recorded by zucchini," he says.
Bell peppers (of all colors) are the most widely planted. Lamuyo peppers are not as common, while others such as the Sweet Palermo and Sweet Bites continue to grow.