The Spanish blueberry campaign has been satisfactory, despite the circumstances and the fears growers had before the harvest started, given the results of the previous year. With raspberries, there has been greater competition from Morocco and Portugal and now the demand is stagnant and prices are under pressure. Blackberries are in a similar situation, as the production arrived late and suddenly. BerryDealer's partner Manuel Cerpa has made an assessment of the current situation of the Spanish berry market.
"Blueberries have been the flagship berry this campaign"
"Fortunately, this year's blueberry campaign has been completely different from what was expected at the beginning, after several difficult years. We could say that it has been a good year for producers, compared to the previous one, when a lot of money was lost in this sector. Blueberries have undoubtedly been the flagship product this year in the berry segment. Prices have remained stable thanks, in part, to the fact that the climate in April has been colder and rainier than usual, causing the production to be more staggered and stable, without varieties overlapping with one another at times when production peaks usually occur," says the commercial manager of BerryDealer.
Manuel Cerpa and Pablo González, partners of BerryDealer.
At the moment, Huelva's producers and exporters are working with the late blueberry varieties. "We are now selling late varieties that guarantee high levels of quality and we hope to continue marketing good volumes until the end of June. For now, the countries to which we supply our blueberries don't expect to have significant quantities until the end of this month, and we can take advantage of that."
Spanish raspberries starting to be displaced in the export markets
"The demand for Spanish raspberries is currently slow and prices are falling. Firstly, it is worth noting that at this time of the year, summer fruits and exotics start taking shelf space, pushing berries away. Also, there is currently a rebound in Huelva's production and Portugal still has supply, while Morocco, which has been a tough competitor this year, is about to wrap up," says Manuel Cerpa.
Furthermore, the raspberry harvests in the main European destination countries are further displacing the Spanish raspberry. "The Netherlands and Belgium have been harvesting greenhouse raspberries for about a month now, but now the open ground harvests are also starting in the United Kingdom, Italy, Germany and France, among others."
Many growers are already stopping their harvests, as prices stand below the production costs. "In just three weeks, I believe that there will no longer be room for Spanish or Portuguese raspberries in the export markets," he says.
Too much blackberry production at once is making sales difficult
In Spain, Morocco and Portugal, the blackberry production normally reaches its peak in terms of volume in late April and May. During the rest of the year, in the autumn and winter months, there are hardly any companies from these countries - except for one producer - able to supply blackberries due to a lack of varieties and adequate technical knowledge.
"This year, we've been in an unusual situation, since we've had consistent volumes for air cargo until January and then we've had shortages until just over two weeks ago, when all the Spanish production arrived at once. Considering that the blackberry market is much smaller than that of other berries, and that there is currently a lot of competition from other products on the shelves, it is being a difficult spring for sales," says Manuel Cerpa.