In Italy, both fresh and dried Egyptian garlic are currently on the market, together with Chinese and Spanish products. In contrast, Italian garlic is only marketed as a fresh product. In a few weeks, there will be a better picture of how the market will evolve. During this time, it is important that the harvest can continue and that there are no extreme weather changes.
"We are currently in a wait and see phase, as we are in the harvest period in all countries around the Mediterranean. Eyes are on Spain, in the areas of Andalusia and Castilla-La Mancha, as the harvest is in full swing there," said Antonio Tuccilo, owner of Agrimpex Farming.
"It is expected that harvesting and processing operations will proceed in such a way that there are no problems of a weather related kind, which in the past year have caused serious damage to the sector and to the market. Last year, in Spain, this led to serious damage to the sector and also to the market, creating a sort of war over prices. Quality is no longer a priority, some consumers have preferred garlic from China and Egypt, which, although of lower quality, was at least intact."
After the sharp increase in December/January, when prices exceeded €3.00 per kilo, prices have gradually stabilized to €2.00 to €2.50 per kilo.
"We are all waiting to see how the buying phase will unfold, with some variables that should confirm the price trend. In China, the harvested garlic is being dried and the quantities are similar to those of last year. But there are still decent quantities in storage right now."
Brazil benefited from significant domestic production last season, slowing import flows from China, Argentina and Spain. "There are still large quantities of Chinese garlic from the old harvest, with very low prices. We don't know yet whether that country will turn to China or Spain this season."
This year, attention was drawn to the great potential that Egypt could have in the future. "The country has greatly improved its garlic sector. The quantities offered are considerable. A further and desirable step would be to plan varietal changes. To date, both white and pink garlic grown in much of the world are derived from the Chinese variety Shandong."
Quality The quality of garlic marketed this year must necessarily be of a good standard. The garlic may show damage as a result of the excessive humidity that destroyed much of the Spanish crop last year. "Spain must regain its role as a leading country by providing good selection and quality," concluded Tuccillo.