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Murcian broccoli is gaining market share

Spain: Recovery of broccoli quality and prices

The Spanish broccoli export season had a good start in early October with the harvests from Albacete and Granada. It was a month with good quality production and high demand in Europe. While the export destinations still had some local production available, quality was not up to scratch, which benefited Spanish broccolis with very positive sales results.

However, in November, the weather turned against the Spanish product, at a time when the broccoli season in Murcia should have at its usual one hundred percent, selling through programs with supermarkets at the export destinations.

"In November there was an excess of humidity and higher temperatures than usual, which in many cases resulted in the appearance of rot and alternaria. The accelerated production and poor quality made the product's handling more difficult; therefore, most of the harvest was allocated directly to the processing industry. Moreover, the European production recovered in terms of quality, thus allowing those markets to be self-sufficient. All these circumstances led to a fall in exports and very low prices," explains David Franco, marketing director of the Murcia-based company Campo de Lorca.

The situation has been changing for the past 10 days; prices have started to rebound and the quality is improving. "With the falling temperatures, the situation has started to stabilise and the quality of the production is on the mend. We expect good demand and satisfactory results up until week 51, taking advantage of the Christmas period, which usually results in increased broccoli consumption. Production in Italy and Poland has already been completed and the market right now only has broccoli from Murcia.

Broccoli consumption is growing every year
According to David Franco, "broccoli consumption is growing year after year in every market where we sell, especially in the UK, Scandinavia, Italy and even in France and Germany, where despite a low per capita consumption, our volume of shipments increases every year."

Murcian broccoli is gaining market share
Murcia's season is becoming longer every year, starting in early October and ending in late May or early June. "We are managing to compete at the beginning and end of the season with productions from other countries in terms of quality, at a time of the year when, in the past, we were unable to enter. The European distribution chains are learning to appreciate the safety and stability of Murcia's production," affirms the exporter.

Water scarcity remains a limiting factor
Murcia is Spain's main broccoli producing area; a region which, despite enjoying ideal weather conditions for the cultivation of this vegetable, suffers a significant shortage of water resources due to the lack of rainfall. "For three seasons in a row, the sector has faced serious difficulties in the supply of water, but so far we have managed to secure the production by resorting to desalination, since right now the Tajo-Segura water transfer has proved insufficient to cover the water shortages. I am confident that we will bring this campaign to a successful end, but I hope that the authorities and the government take action and to solve this problem in the short to medium term."


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