The bell pepper season is underway in Almeria with a somewhat quiet demand, which is normal for this time of the year; however, volumes could drop more than usual from February onwards. Some growers are already uprooting green bell peppers in order to plant the watermelons that will be harvested in April.
"Pepper volumes in Almeria are more or less normal for this time of the year, although in general, yields so far this season have been lower," says José Antonio Baños, president of Ejidomar, based in El Ejido, one of the most important bell pepper production areas in Almeria.
"We are talking about an average of about 1.5 kilos less per square meter compared to the previous season, despite the acreage having been expanded this year. While last year we marketed about 20 million kilos of bell peppers, this year we have already had 1 million kilos less, although prices have also been somewhat better," he says.
According to the president of this cooperative, the campaign's peak production period, which takes place between November and the end of January, is now coming to an end, although he predicts that production will drop more than usual in February, due to the lower temperatures in November.
"This is already happening with the short yellow and orange peppers, whose ripening is always ahead of the red ones. In the last few days there has been a lack of production and prices have been rising (in the last 3 days, the price in the auctions has risen by almost 50 cents), especially for the G sizes, which are usually packed in flowpack in the tricolor format," he says.
The prices of short red and green peppers remain similar, although at the moment there is a greater supply of green peppers, in part, due to more being harvested to be able to start planting spring crops, such as watermelon."
"In about 2 to 3 weeks there will likely be a shortage of red and green bell peppers, just as it's currently happening with the yellow and orange. Also the prices of specialty peppers, such as the Sweet Palermo, are currently lower than usual, we expect them to go up starting in February. We will finish the season around April with a small supply," says José Antonio Baños.