In an interview with Efeagro, Eva Perez, president of the Proexport Committee for pepper, said that producers faced an uphill battle this season as they had to deal with lower production, higher costs, and more rain in spring than expected.
In fact, March of this year has been the rainiest month on record, as it rained an average of 182.6 liters per square meter, i.e., six times more than usual. In April, it rained twice as much as in April of other years.
"As a result, the days were cloudy when the plants needed many hours of sun to develop and grow their fruits. This complicated Murcia's pepper campaign," she said.
The weather conditions affected the development of the crop and its quality. She added that the markets of Murcia and Alicante received 30% less product a week than usual.
"The lack of kilos at specific times allowed producers to get good prices at the auctions. However, the campaign as a whole was not very profitable for farmers because they had trouble producing seven kilos per square meter when the usual yields would exceed ten kilos," she stated.
"In recent years, Murcia has produced around 165,000 tons of pepper a year, but this year that figure may be very low," she said.
It will even be smaller if the farmers have to withdraw some plantations in August to compensate for the volumes harvested until July because the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries, and Food (MAP) has decided not to authorize the use of dichloropropene for the Region's pepper, she added.
Proexport and Fepex are working so that the ministry reviews this decision. Otherwise, the campaign could end sooner than expected, with significant losses for the sector, she stated.