As the weeks pass, Almeria's vegetable campaign keeps taking shape; a campaign which has kicked off somewhat later than in 2013 because prices at the start of the autumn were not very positive. Furthermore, the excessively warm temperatures in late summer and early autumn have damaged some crops.
However, the situation is very different this year when it comes to domestic prices, with products such as cucumber and courgette reaching the highest levels so far due to the lower production in the rest of Europe.
In the case of short cucumbers, the price stands around € 0.90 per kilo, while the French variety slightly exceeds € 1.00 per kilo and the Dutch variety from Almeria reaches around € 1.50 per kilo in auctions such as those of Alhóndiga La Union, Europe's largest trader for this vegetable, which reached 70,000 tonnes last season.
Meanwhile, courgettes are also reaching some of the best prices so far. Thin courgettes have reached an average of up to € 2.00 per kilo, while last week their value stood below € 0.90. It is also a good time also for thick courgettes, whose price stands at 1.80 Euro per kilo.
Nevertheless, Jesús Barranco, president of Alhóndiga La Unión, warns that "while these high prices are positive for growers, the market conditions are currently marked by supply difficulties, which may affect consumption."
"We expect to have a similar campaign to last year's in terms of volume and we also hope the Russian veto will be lifted so that prices won't be affected," he adds.
Besides the lower production in Europe at the moment, Jesús Barranco affirms that there are markets looking increasingly more favourably to the import of Spanish products, such as Germany. "It is also worth noting that the produce currently in Europe comes from the end of their production cycles, unlike Almeria's, which are new crops and consequently of better quality," he continues.
"The weather in winter is a very important factor, as well as the amount of light, so those wishing to compete with Almeria at this time of the year must meet these conditions and, at the same time, have the same quality infrastructures; something which is not achieved overnight. Almeria's greenhouses, as well as the entire food industry around them, are already 50 years old," he points out.
New courgette range presented at Fruit Attraction
"This season, we want to launch a new courgette range, which we'll present to our clients and visitors within the framework of the coming edition of Fruit Attraction," he explains.
"For us, courgettes are very important in terms of volume and we aim to reduce costs and increase productivity to be more competitive."
Jesús BarrancoAlhóndiga La Unión
Polig. Ind. La Redonda s/n El Ejido