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Rafael Polo, CEO of Grupo Comercial Polo:

“What can garlic producers who currently have a small and poor quality product do?”

Spain's garlic marketing campaign is certainly complex this year. “On the one hand, there is a high demand for good garlic, but on the other hand, we have small-sized garlic, which sometimes has skin issues. It's a product that supermarkets don't want," stated Rafael Polo of Grupo Comercial Polo.

"Whoever has stocks with calibers of 60/65 or higher this year will be able to sell them at a reasonable price, but it remains to be seen whether those growers also have enough product available to last until the new season starts. But what about the growers who have small and lower quality garlic?"

"At the moment, they're being offered a low price that doesn't cover production costs. If we had processing plants in Spain, we would make garlic powder or garlic paste from the product that nobody wants and that producers don't know what to do with. If we were to get rid of all those volumes that are currently in the way, that would also benefit the fresh market, because now we are selling everything at a loss."

“If we don't manage to sell all this garlic, it will soon be joined by the garlic of the upcoming campaign. While it's true that producers expect a 20 to 30% decrease in production, the entry of new garlic would still lead to a decrease in the price of the garlic stored, which was produced at very high costs."

In addition, it's worth noting that the cold room rental contracts for the storage of garlic in Spain are established for six months, which obliges producers to make a very heavy investment and makes the final product even more expensive. "The only countries that resort to refrigerated garlic storage are Spain and China. In a sense, it encourages speculation with the product because growers have the option of waiting to sell until there are better prices to better amortize their investment. In other countries, such as Chile or Argentina, the marketing season only lasts 3 to 4 months, like for any other vegetable."

"Chile is currently a very good selling point for garlic"
Grupo Comercial Polo is a commercial division specializing in garlic that operates worldwide with an extensive team of representatives. It also advises growers and customers on this product, the sector of which is surprisingly dynamic.

“Right now, Chile is a really good garlic selling point. The Chilean product has very good quality and, most importantly, their calibers are large; in fact, the production of small sizes have been so low that even markets like Taiwan, which imports small calibers from Chile, have not been able to meet their purchasing needs.”

“One of the suppliers we work with in Chile, who is of Egyptian origin, is doing a very good job specifically for the Taiwan market,” Rafael stated. “He rented a warehouse and brought his quality team into the country. Taiwan demands garlic in sizes 37/45 - 45/50, but with the particularity that, due to phytosanitary reasons, the government requires the product to be totally clean and without roots.

"Garlic from China is not allowed into Taiwan, so the island imports the product from Chile and Argentina, which cut the roots off exclusively for the Taiwanese market. In fact, there are even Taiwanese importers who have their own warehouses in Argentina where they prepare the product so that it meets all requirements for export. Argentina is currently the largest supplier of garlic to Taiwan and I am aware of exporters who have shipped more than 50 containers per season.”

"Argentine garlic is known for its quality and its Spring purple garlic stands out in the markets for its color. However, we are not doing anything with Argentina in this campaign because of its inflation and financial problems,” Rafael stated.

"The garlic world is quite exciting," says Rafael. "No season is the same as the previous one. That's why we hope that Spanish growers can make up for this year's losses with the next harvest."

"Grupo Comercial Polo strives to find the best market solutions for our customers and producers, providing value in our commercial management,” Rafael concluded.

For more information:

Rafael Polo
Grupo Comercial Polo
Tel.: +34 629 859 919

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