The arrival of the cold weather this week, in which the temperature fell to nearly 0 °C, has slowed down Huelva's berry campaign. “There is a lot of work, little fruit, and a lot of demand, in general, for all berries and in particular for raspberries; especially in this week prior to Valentine's Day, which is very important for berry sales,” stated Jose Luis Perez, from Sunberries.
“The cold is doing a lot of damage to raspberry production. Not only are we at a moment of the campaign where the production level is lower than in other windows, but -as a result of the current low temperatures- we don't have enough production to supply the market as we would like. We should be currently marketing 2,000-3,000 kilos of raspberries a day, but we're not even reaching 700 kg.”
“Year after year, the area of raspberry planting in Huelva is decreasing, and this trend is expected to continue over time. Many producers are thinking about changing crops because raspberries are currently yielding low economic returns.”
Despite the increase in prices caused by the current fall in production, in week 3, prices were 1.5 to 2 euro per kilo below the price of the same week last year, Jose Luis stated. “Prices are increasing and we expect they will continue to do so during February and March, but we'll have to crunch numbers at the end of the campaign to see if this increase compensates the months of December and January, which were practically lost.”
According to the reports that the Observatory of Prices and Markets of the Junta de Andalucía published in December, producers were paid an average price of €4.35/kg between the first week of marketing for which there is available data (week 37) and the second week of December (week 49). This was the lowest figure recorded by the Price Observatory for the same period of the previous 6 campaigns, for which there is data available.
“Competition from Morocco is stronger by the year. We cannot compete with their prices or costs. We need our leaders to make policies that defend our sector, both at the national and European levels so that we can compete on a level playing field.”
The truth is that the European markets, the natural markets for Spanish raspberries, are increasing their imports; however, Spanish raspberry imports are also increasing. A quick search on DataComex, the Ministry of Industry, Commerce, and Tourism's foreign trade statistical tool, reveals that Spanish raspberry imports from Morocco in 2022 (not including the month of December) increased by 77% compared to 2021 and by almost 122% compared to 2020. According to the data from DataComex, Aragon accounted for 51.8% of the volume that Spain imported.
“Morocco is increasing its berry production area each year. Last year we ended the blueberry campaign with a very bad taste in the mouth. Blueberry production peaks in April and May, so the supply is much stronger than the demand in those months. We have to continuously reinvent ourselves and look for new varieties to produce in profitable market windows. Not everything is negative; the area planted with strawberries increased over the last year and we have noticed that our customers continue to bet very strongly on them. Huelva continues and will continue to lead strawberry exports,” concluded Jose Luis, who launched Sunberries a year ago to help small and medium-sized farmers in the province bring their fruit to European markets, especially northern Europe. “Our main goal is to make Huelva producers stronger in European markets and connect them with those customers who value our berries.”
For more information:
Plaza Altisidora, Huelva, España 21007
Tel.: +34 678 122 354