The snow that covered the artichoke fields of the Navarran region of La Ribera last weekend will inevitably mark the course of this campaign. The president of the Protected Geographical Indication Alcachofa de Tudela, Guillermo Agorreta, said that "this situation has caused the loss of the harvest, at least until March, since the plants have frozen and will need to sprout again."
According to Agorreta, this situation, added to the frosts that were registered in the region a few days before the snowfall, could reduce the production in this 2020-2021 campaign by between 25 and 30%.
In the 2019-2020 season, the PGI's artichoke production amounted to around 13,000 kilos per hectare; an amount that is expected to be significantly lower in the current campaign. The situation will also affect other crops, such as broccoli and cauliflower.
Two key months
Agorreta said that this drop in the production could entail an even greater decline in terms of economic profitability, "which could be reduced by up to 50%," since "now was the time when artichokes were being sold at a higher price, with 4.50 and 4.70 Euro paid per dozen in the warehouse and around 8 Euro on the market.”
"We are going to lose 2 months which are key to getting some added value from the artichokes," says Agorreta.
To this loss of economic profitability, artichoke producers must add the damage caused by not being able to have their crops insured in case of frost. This is due to the fact that Agroseguro hasn't been covering it in the period from December 1 to February 15 since 2013.
The PGI loses a third of its hectares in three years
In the 2017/18 campaign, the PGI accounted for more than 900 hectares in 33 riverside towns. In the current 2020/21 season, it doesn't even reach 600 hectares. A third of the surface has thus been lost in three years. This, according to Guillermo Agorreta, president of the PGI, is mainly due "to the drop in the profitability of the crop because of the cost of labor and the rise in the Minimum Wage."
Agorreta also blamed the "complications caused by the European ban of certain phytosanitary products" intended specifically for artichokes.