The berry campaign is not going well in the province of Huelva. Although in December 2020 the production figures were good for that time of the season, the arrival of storm Filomena and the extremely low temperatures that it brought caused a delay in the vegetative growth of the plant and affected the flowering. This caused the production to be lower than that obtained around the same time in previous campaigns.
Moreover, after storm Filomena, there have been many days with unstable weather and few hours of sunshine. The result is that even though the quality of the production is very good, the volumes are smaller, because the weather is not allowing the plant to recover and be at full capacity.
Unfortunately, this chain of events is taking a negative toll on the campaign and, as a consequence, on our producers. Our production figures have fallen well below those of previous campaigns (-50%), and this is affecting other factors. Fewer laborers are needed in the field, and handling facilities are also working at about 50% of their capacity.
At this stage of the season this is a serious problem, because growers have to face the payments of the credit lines requested at the beginning of the season, as well as payments to warehouses, input suppliers, etc. However, if the situation does not improve, these payments will have to be made from much lower incomes.
Besides, it should also be noted that those potential solutions that could be available to alleviate the situation, such as agricultural insurance, are not a real solution to the current problem, since most growers have production insurances, and with the calculation system currently in place for this type of insurance, they won't get a penny.
The growers association UPA Huelva has often stressed in several meetings with Agroseguro, ENESA and other parties that the insurance for strawberry and soft fruit cultivation needs to be revised, as this type of insurance has not proven to be useful even in the event of major weather disasters, as in 2018. Unfortunately, both institutions have shown little understanding for the situation of the growers, so UPA Huelva will continue to fight for an insurance that better reflects the reality of the soft fruit season.