Freshuelva estimates that Huelva will produce and market some 250,000 tons of strawberries in this campaign; a very similar amount to the production of 2020. Rafael Dominguez, the manager of the entity, said they think the campaign will be as complicated or more complicated than the previous campaign, not only because of the consequences of the pandemic but also because of the weather. The production volume as of February was below the production of other years as it didn't reach 50%.
The closure of some international markets that traditionally receive strawberries from Huelva, such as Germany or France because of confinements in recent weeks, and the decision of the Italian market to bet on local consumption have been detrimental to Huelva's strawberry sector. In addition, the restrictions in Spain have complicated the distribution and good trade of berries.
They expect consumption to recover now, in the middle of the season, which is usually when the strawberries start to experience their best moment. However, the strawberry also has to face competition from stone fruit, and the sudden changes in temperature and rains could complicate and damage the crops, Dominguez said.
Freshuelva expects the large distribution takes them into account. "Ultimately, they are the ones that determine the price of strawberries because they have the highest availability," Dominguez stated. "We want the chains to be ethical. We want them to respect prices and not to lower them."
The sector is also waiting to see how the campaign in other countries evolves. The frosts in France, for example, are delaying the production, which could benefit the Spanish sector.
Regarding the opening of new markets for Huelva's strawberry, the manager of Freshuelva said they are in talks with the Port of Huelva to open new routes and explore markets, such as Scandinavia, or Brazil, where the Government has accepted the management systems proposed by Freshuelva technicians. Dominguez also said that they had already made some experimental shipments to Canada with positive results in this campaign.