Although the bulk of Spain's cucumber production comes from Almeria and Granada during the autumn and winter months, in the summer months, some plantations located at higher altitudes remain active.
Companies such as the cooperative Murgiverde, one of the main producers of organic cucumbers in Almeria, are currently working in the summer campaign, which is underway with much lower volumes than usual due to heat shocks, and with prices that are almost twice as high as those recorded at this time last year.
"The heat wave at the end of May and the recent one have caused a decrease in the amount of fruit per plant, and there are also more losses due to quality problems," says Francisco Linares from the commercial department of Murgiverde.
The drop in the volume of organic cucumbers in Spain has coincided with a significant decline in the production in the rest of Europe, due to the increased cost of fuel, energy and other inputs needed for the production.
"The Netherlands, Lithuania, Italy, Bulgaria..., all these countries are supplying less organic cucumbers. Although the demand is down slightly compared to last year due to consumers being, perhaps, more cautious in the context of global inflation, it remains well above the available supply, which translates into prices that are almost twice as high as those reached at the same time last year."
"While last year the average was around 0.35 Euro per piece, now we are seeing about 0.60-0.65 Euro per piece on the shelves of a German supermarket. The fact is that the available supply of organic cucumbers does not cover the demand, which comes mainly from Germany, the Nordic countries, the UK and Belgium, among others," says Francisco Linares. "However, despite the fact that prices are higher in general, profit margins are similar to last year's, taking into account that production costs have risen by about 30% and that there is less production."
"In the coming weeks, there could be an increase in the supply of organic cucumbers, but volumes will still remain below the levels reached last season," warns Francisco Linares.
The commitment to organic production of this cooperative is really remarkable because in the last 6 years, they have gone from producing 15% of their total volume organically to more than 70%.
At the moment, the organic and conventional cucumber producing members of this cooperative are working on the planting for the autumn and winter season. "I believe that the cucumber acreage in Almeria and Granada will be similar to last year's. Prices have reached record highs in the 2021-2022 campaign due to a reduction in the supply of up to 20% at specific times due to the impact of the weather conditions and this will again encourage growers to bet on this vegetable."
For more information:www.murgiverde.com