David Franco Ruzafa, of Campo de Lorca, SCL

Spain: Low broccoli production unable to meet demand

The 2012 broccoli campaign in Murcia, Spain, is developing very differently to how it did in the same period last year and the main reason is the necessary production regulation. "This is the second campaign running with a bad autumn period in terms of results, and that has caused a sharp fall in production for this first part of the 2012/13 season," explains David Franco Ruzafa, Sales Manager of Campo de Lorca, SCL.

"Prices during this period are better so far; however, we cannot ignore the problems derived from the continuous rains that fell in November, which spoiled a significant percentage of the production and had a negative impact on the final results, "says David Franco.

"Prices paid to growers are still high. We are in a pre-Christmas period when demand increases and this is also pushing prices. Without a doubt, the next 2-3 weeks will be very difficult, as meeting demand with the current means is impossible. The Spanish production is not as high as other years and this becomes obvious in periods of high demand. "We desperately need a positive response from the markets to the price increase. We are still cautious about how production will develop during the second part of the campaign," assures David. "We hope that this regulation does not prevent fair prices, as last year we spent a few months with prices under production costs."

Production in the UK is dramatically low this year, which according to David, is something to be vigilant about.

"It is obvious that the UK is one of the major markets in terms of consumption of this vegetable and any variation in production volumes will have a direct impact on it. Still, in the current economic climate, the behaviour of supply and demand is not subject to the natural laws of the market. Our commitment must continue to be with high quality products; we should not be the ones creating uncertainty about the future."

Campo de Lorca, SCL is an agricultural firm producing and selling its own products for 25 years. It has two work locations in the Region of Murcia and its products are exported all over the country. "Campo de Lorca exports, along with its products, a set of values defining its work ethic: commitment, trust and safety. These three factors are reflected on the CRICKET products, "the firm's flagship brand, able to arrive to millions of consumers in and outside Europe," affirms the Sales Manager. 

The most extended broccoli varieties are Parthenon and Naxos. "We, within the firm's Production Plan, are forced to include more varieties, such as Monaco or Lord, with the goal of maintaining the current harvest volumes and, therefore, ensure uninterrupted supply to our customers. It is not about growing 30,000 tonnes per year, but harvesting 500 tonnes weekly."

Regarding broccoli news, David Franco says that they are testing a few new varieties not commercially available yet. "We have two goals: on the one hand, to maintain competitiveness; something difficult given the increase in production costs, but essential. On the other hand, the search for a better product: appearance, shelf life and flavour are very important qualities in our vegetables."

Many broccoli promotions are being done to promote their good and healthy properties.

"I believe that promotions, when done right, have a decisive impact on the increase of consumption. I also think that it is now being done because we have managed to attract more attention to this wonderful vegetable. We can guarantee that in some markets, consumption is indeed increasing. The reason is simple: we have managed to reach consumers with a really good and fresh product during the entire year at stable prices; this is a particularly good foundation. If, additionally, promotion and communication are added, success is guaranteed."

Management team of Campo de Lorca, SCL

As for packing, despite the innovations made for the protection and durability of the product, David Franco has no doubts regarding his preferences.

"For a vegetable to double its shelf life, the most important thing is to harvest it at the right moment, enabling it to reach the market with all its freshness and flavour: that is the secret, but it is also obvious what an important role new packing materials and formats are gaining, allowing us to arrive at many more destinations. Our firm is constantly improving its packing models, presentation formats and manipulation processes. For example, 4 years ago we developed a format which allowed us to become the first Spanish firm with direct sales of broccoli to the Middle East, and we continue advancing in this direction.
In terms of new materials, Campo de Lorca is testing new packaging material and plastics with the objective of prolonging the products' shelf life, which are giving quite good results. "However, we cannot forget that a fresh and healthy product, controlled logistics and personal care are the most important factors nowadays. What really works is the statement defining the firm in just one objective: growing the best broccoli in the world."

For more information:
David Franco Ruzafa
Campo de Lorca, SCL
Camino Liforos s/n 30815 Dip Tercia
Lorca, Murcia, Spain
Tel : +34 968465960
E-mail: info@campodelorca.com
www.campodelorca.com, www.brocolicricket.com


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