Spanish cucumber is going through a turbulent time. According to data from the Prices Observatory of the Government of Andalusia, in January, the highest price obtained by producers for a kilo of this vegetable was around 1.54 Euro, but this has fallen dramatically to only 13 cents in mid-November. This is unsustainable for the producers.
The unusual heat in autumn and the increase in the production, which is being sold with difficulties in Europe, have forced agricultural and marketing organizations to withdraw and throw away about 30% of the cucumbers that were intended to be sold, and whose production in the provinces of Granada and Almeria amounts to 21 million kilos per week. In fact, last week 2.5 million kilos were thrown away.
The growers affected are hoping that, with the arrival of the cold weather, prices will rise and they won't get into debt, and they criticize that, in supermarkets, their product is worth up to 90% more than what they are getting.
Inequality in the market
For Miguel Monferrer, head of COAG, the problem is the lack of coordination between producers and marketers in the planning of the campaigns. "The production costs are lower than for other vegetables, and in 35 days after the planting, you can already start harvesting, which is attractive for the owners of the farms. We are competing against ourselves and causing prices to plunge," he says.
Nicolás Chica, head of UPA, agrees. "We have arrived late this season and prices are ruinous. We should create an Interprofessional organizatioon to control the withdrawal of the product and make it equal for all growers," he says.
For his part, Alfonso Zamora, head of Ecohal, says that withdrawal is a viable option to try readjusting prices, but points out that the impact on the growers is unequal. The Councilor of Agriculture, Carmen Crespo, has expressed solidarity with those affected, and has asked them "to organize" to prevent situations of oversupply. She is asking the Government to regulate the food chain.