According to a representative of the COAG agricultural organization, producers opted for other products because of the artichoke's cold, abundant water, and high labor demands.
Large cooperatives such as Agroter, which have a cultivation area of 3,000 hectares, only devoted some 60 hectares to artichoke cultivation because its production is very risky, the president of Agroter stated. "Broccoli is now the star in winter," he said.
Despite the setbacks, other companies, such as Campo de Lorca, will maintain the same cultivation volumes. "Artichoke is more difficult and requires a lot of labor, but we are very committed to our customers," stated Campo de Lorca's general director, Juan Marín. The company markets about 15,000 tons of artichokes that it produces in Lorca and Totana with nearly 200 small and medium-sized associated farmers.
It's worth noting that 80% of the area devoted to artichoke in the Region is in the Guadalentín Valley. The traditional Blanca de Tudela artichoke variety is being replaced by other hybrids such as the Green Queen, which is beginning to prevail in the market. This year's lower production could translate into better prices. The harvest, however, has been delayed by at least 15 days due to high temperatures.