Although the Spanish province of Huelva hasn't had the copious snowfalls of other parts of Spain, the cold caused by storm Filomena has also left its mark on the coast, where berry production is slowing down, especially that of strawberries and raspberries. The harvest of these fruits had started in the middle of last December and, so far, "it had been at quite an advanced stage."
According to the Secretary General in Huelva of the Union of Small Agricultural Producers (UPA), Manuel Piedra, low temperatures "slow down" the growth and development of the plant, and the lack of sunshine "delays" the ripening of the fruit. Piedra said that the frosts expected these days could cause even more problems, "given the risk of the flowers burning. The fact that the crops are under plastic does not guarantee one hundred percent that they will not be affected by this."
Regarding transport and marketing, the secretary of UPA Huelva said that trucks have been stuck over the weekend on Spanish roads as a result of the storm, causing delays in the shipment of fruits that were already on their way to their destinations. In this phase of the campaign, the fruit is mainly intended for the domestic market, with some small quantities shipped to countries such as the UK, Germany or France.
However, these retentions have not taken a toll on the preservation of the product, which "can stay in perfect condition inside the refrigerated trucks for between 5 and 6 days at an average temperature of between 4 and 5 degrees Celsius."
Arrival of 500 Moroccan temporary workers suspended
The trip that 500 Moroccan temporary workers should have made this Wednesday to work in Huelva's berry campaign has been suspended at the request of the Government of Morocco. This has been confirmed by the Secretary General of UPA-Huelva, who explained that said suspension has been motivated by the request made by the Moroccan authorities to their Spanish counterparts. It was a public holiday in Morocco on Monday, and therefore, it was impossible for the Moroccan authorities to guarantee the carrying out of PCR tests at least 72 hours before the journey of the temporary workers.
However, the trip planned for Friday, January 15, is still expected to take place, so of the 1,000 temporary workers that were scheduled to arrive this week in Huelva, only half will eventually travel.