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José Martínez, manager of Arcoval (Spain):

“It is unusual for France, Germany or the Netherlands to start ordering carrots in March. It's a good sign!"

In March, the carrot campaign kicks off in the Spanish province of Cadiz, one of the most important vegetable producing regions not only in Spain, but in Europe, especially at this time of the year, in which the weather in the northernmost areas of the continent prevents the production of this vegetable.

“The campaign started this week and will end in late June / early July. From then on, both the northern part of Spain and the rest of Europe will begin to have their own productions,” said José Martínez, manager of one of the largest Spanish carrot export companies, Arcoval, based in Arcos de la Frontera, Cadiz. "This year, the production area has increased, although the frequent rains recorded in the months of December, January and February will take a toll on the yields and will cause the total volume to be similar to that of previous seasons (between 10 and 12 million kilos). But the quality is going to be just as good."

Since its inception in 2005/2006, Arcoval has had a clear export vocation. José says that around 85% of their production is shipped to markets across Europe, including Eastern countries, and during the season they also export to the United Arab Emirates.

"We export carrots in bulk, but fresh," says the manager. “We harvest them from the fields early in the morning, and in an hour or an hour and a half the first truck arrives at our facilities. In another hour the product is washed, packed, cooled and loaded onto another truck bound for, say, Germany. In other words, the product can be consumed within 30 hours after being harvested,” says the manager.

"We work a lot with Lidl in Germany (more than 3 trucks a day), France and other European countries, in addition to the domestic market, where we allocate the remaining 15% of the production.

Good prospects for Andalusian carrots
Besides the region of Andalusia, where Cadiz, and specifically the Arcos de la Frontera area, stands out the most at this time of year, countries such as Italy and Portugal also have carrot productions.

“Portugal has come in strong with this product and has also started to export. This was one of the countries in the area that imported the most carrots and it has gone from buying to selling. In any case, the market conditions also depend on the situation of the chambers in Belgium or the Netherlands, since if they have good stocks, they can do us a lot of damage, causing prices to fall. In fact, there have been years when their chambers have been full and it has been ruinous for us,” he says.

“You have to take into account that from here to Germany or the Netherlands, shipping costs about 15 cents, not taking other costs into account. Sometimes, shipping is costlier than the product. But if they have high stocks there, carrots just out from the chamber can cost between 5 and 10 cents.” And although the quality of a stored product has nothing to do with that of a fresh product, those countries prefer to consume regional and local products. "Over the past 3 years, there has been no overlap with our productions and the market conditions have been quite good."

Despite the fact that the campaign has just started, Arcoval expects a good development. Its manager says that in the previous campaign, which coincided with the start of the pandemic, they dealt with a "huge demand" in Europe, despite the fact that hotels, restaurants or schools, which are large consumers of this product, were closed. And the demand registered at the start of the current campaign only confirms the good prospects. “It is unusual for France, Germany or the Netherlands to start ordering in March. It's a good sign,” says José Martínez.

For more information:
Magui Galán
Ctra. Jédula-Junta de los Ríos Km 1,5
Jédula 11620 Cádiz, Spain
M: +34 647 910 109

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