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Bernardo Padilla Jiménez, of Berpadi World Garlic:

"It's a pity that we are abandoning our indigenous variety for one imported from China"

The garlic harvest got off to a good start, with very good weather conditions, although last week's intermittent rains are hampering the last stage of the harvest of the white and violet Spring garlic.

"Possibly around 50% of the crop is already safely stored in the warehouses, where the humidity has caused us some difficulties, and the other 50% of the harvest remains in the field. Some of that garlic may have been a little affected by the rains," says Padilla Jiménez, manager of the company Berpadi World Garlic. "Nevertheless, the start has been very good. There is plenty of quality this year and, based on the figures we have, the acreage has been reduced by between 25 and 30%. Growers are getting good prices, and the demand is also good."

"There is quite a shortage of garlic in Europe and Spain must currently cover all the demand, so we are expecting a good season. This is something we really need, after three years with many difficulties, poor quality and great challenges with the marketing."

"In previous years, we've had to work with second class products that did not fare well in the market because of their presentation. When about 40 or 50% of the production is second class, operators are forced to look for other sources. This is why having a good season will be so important, because it will allow us to recover what we've lost and growers will be able to continue working with garlic."

Imports of Argentinian garlic to grow strongly in 2024
Figures shared by the Ministry of Trade via the consultation tool Datacomex reveal that in 2023, garlic imports increased by 55% compared to 2022. There is also data on the growth achieved in the first three months of 2024 and the countries that have been the main suppliers.

In 2023, garlic imports from France doubled and exceeded 1,000 tons. Those from the Netherlands also grew notably. In fact, in the first three months of 2024, the volume imported into the Dutch market has already exceeded that of the whole of 2023, with more than 1,200 tons.

However, the greatest growth has been achieved by Argentina in 2024. In the first trimester, the country shipped almost four times the volume that it had sent to Spain in the whole of 2023, totaling more than 4,500 tons.

"We must continue to bet on purple garlic".
"This year, if everything works out, we will have everything covered with our crop," says Bernardo. "Andalusia is starting right now. In around 8 days, the harvest will start in the Antequera area, where there is a great garlic production, and we hear that things there are going quite well and that they are going to have quality productions. In Castile-La Mancha, the harvest will start in around 15-20 days."

"As far as purple garlic is concerned, due to last year's poor yields, which made it difficult to reach average profitable yields, the crop's cultivation has been reduced by 45%. Nonetheless, we must continue to invest in purple garlic," he says. "We cannot forget that purple garlic is an indigenous product, adapted to our climate, which ripens around 15-20 June when, in general, it is already warm and sunny. The sector has put a lot of effort into growing Spring garlic, which is originally from China, because it is a very early variety and offers a high yield, but the harvest comes at the end of May, when Spain faces the greatest climatic challenges."

"Chinese garlic in Spain has a track record of difficulties with the harvest, which is precisely why we should ask ourselves if we are not going against nature by planting a variety naturally adapted to the conditions of another country."

"It's a pity that we are abandoning purple garlic to replace it with Spring garlic. It is true that it yields many kilos and that is why we are all switching to this variety, but I believe that if we are only going to have a good harvest once every few years, we'll get tired of it, and we can neither take on this suffering nor endure it over time."

For more information:
Bernardo Padilla Jiménez
Berpadi World Garlic
Balazote, Albacete, Spain
Tel.: +34 650 455 882
[email protected]

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