The agricultural season started in Almería in early September, although the European markets are still short of zucchini at a time when the Spanish production should be sufficient to meet the demand.
According to a producer and exporter from Almería, specialized in this product, the uncertainty generated in the sector by the expansion of the coronavirus and the start of a second wave of infections are among the possible causes that have limited the product's supply at this time of the season.
"Many growers have tried to delay the sowing for as long as possible while waiting to see how the situation developed," he says. "The fear that workers will be infected and that there won't be a crew for the harvest or that trading companies will close if too many cases are detected has caused a delay in the harvest of about 15 days."
The mismatch between the supply and the high demand for this vegetable has caused zucchini prices to rise in the auctions of the province of Almería. In the first week of September, they rose to €2.30 per kg. "High prices have been paid for zucchini at the end of the summer season, and these are low quality products, because they are the last to be harvested. The same applies to the first zucchini from the coast of Almeria, which don't yet meet the desired standards."
This lack of Spanish zucchini in the market and the high European demand is, however, good for other producing countries such as Italy, where prices have even doubled in recent weeks after a season marked by huge losses.
However, as explained by the producer, this situation will tend to stabilize in the coming weeks. "In about 15 or 20 days, which is the delay that growers in Almería have, the volumes will return to their usual levels and, therefore, prices will adjust. In fact, prices are already in a downward trend,” he says.