This campaign will not go down in history as a normal one for Almeria's greenhouse producers. First, because of the high temperatures recorded in autumn and the warm start of winter, and now because of the persistent low temperatures recorded since two weeks ago, which have created an unusual scenario that is resulting in shortages of all fruit and vegetable products.
Fruit and vegetable supplies in Europe are severely at risk at the moment. The picture is practically the same in other neighboring production areas and for other types of crops, as discussed in the last national fruit and vegetable sectoral meeting.
In fact, this has been one of the main topics of conversation between Almeria companies and their customers during the latest edition of the Fruit Logistica fair in the German capital.
The production shortcomings in Almeria are evident and can be confirmed with data, according to the Association of Organizations of Fruit and Vegetable Producers of Almeria (COEXPHAL). For example, the volume of tomatoes marketed between weeks 5 and 7 is 22% lower than that of the same period last year.
This pattern is also observed in the case of cucumbers, for which a 21% drop in production is reported. As for bell peppers and eggplant, the drops exceed 25%. In the case of zucchini, the figure is somewhat lower, at 15%.
The situation is starting to raise concerns, as some companies are beginning to have problems meeting their customers' programs.
According to Luis Miguel Fernandez, manager of COEXPHAL, "we did not expect a scenario like this, with high temperatures practically until December, which also accelerated the production throughout the first part of this campaign."
Despite the high prices reached these weeks, it is still hard to make a profit. "Growers are earning more per kilo, but the reduction in the production volume is so great that the higher prices are not making up for the losses. In addition to all these drawbacks, there is also the constant increase of the production costs and the difficulties caused by pests or viruses," he says.
Luis Miguel Fernández says that: "For us, it would be ideal to be able to keep a normal production rate, as this would help us bring the volumes and the prices paid to our growers in better balance."
The manager of the growers' association said that their "companies are doing the impossible to meet all their commitments, but it is practically unfeasible under the circumstances."
"War, inflation, and inclement weather have given rise to uncertainty, a scenario to which the agricultural sector is not alien to. Distributors' demand increases in the shipments from Almeria, and companies are doing their best to meet the programs. The reality is that the demand far exceeds the supply at the moment," says the manager of this organization.
"Higher temperatures over the next few weeks could help improve the situation, although it remains to be seen how the plants will respond to such sharp changes in the climatological conditions," he said.
"One of the worst-case scenarios is that customers, faced with product shortages, will look for what they need in other markets and origins. A situation that could have negative consequences in the medium term, as it gives further advantages to products from third countries in the natural target markets for Spanish fruit and vegetable products," said Miguel Angel Fernandez.
For more information:
Ctra. de Ronda 11, 1
04004 Almería. Spain
Tel.: +34 950 62 11 62