The organic carrot campaign is starting in the province of Cadiz, in a season that, according to Jean Claude Mathaly, manager of Cortijo Bio, will be interesting.
“Last year was catastrophic in general for the agricultural world; costs skyrocketed, the markets were very difficult, and prices were very low. This also affected those of us who are dedicated to organic farming,” he stated. “We are subject to the decisions of customers. The supermarket chains are our customers and they want to buy the products as cheaply as possible. This year, however, the situation is quite different.”
Carrot production this year is significantly lower in the province of Cadiz. “Unfortunately, there are many producers and companies who had such a terrible previous campaign that they have not had the economic capacity to replant this year. In addition, as a result of the drought and restrictions on the availability of water, many producers were unable to plant, planted less surface, or planted their crops very late."
“Then, the mild autumn temperatures have caused the carrots to develop their vegetative part (i.e. leaves) more than its roots, so we are having shorter yields.”
“As a result, we started this year's campaign with a higher demand than supply for organic carrots and very high prices that we hope will allow us to recover from the large losses we had in the previous campaign, which was totally abnormal,” when the organic segment was heavily punished by the inflationary spiral. “We find ourselves with a market that, despite having been growing for many years in double digits, has experienced a stagnation in consumption. The decline has been different across countries, but we've mostly noticed it in the French market, where the decline has been more tangible.”
“Despite this, I am absolutely optimistic about the development of the organic market. Now we are experiencing a delicate moment of stagnation, but as soon as it's over, we'll continue to grow because people are aware that we have to eat quality safe food.”
“It's getting harder and harder to plan crops”
Inflation and rising production costs are a result of the current context. We hope they will return to the levels before the war in Ukraine, but we still don't know when this could happen. We also hope that the drought will end, but it's worth stating that the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has explicitly stated in its latest assessment report on the evolution of the climate crisis that the risks associated with global warming are more serious than expected and that, unfortunately, water insecurity - and thus food insecurity - will increase due to increased warming.
“It's something that's already happening all over Europe. Climate uncertainty is making it increasingly difficult to plan crops and the economic risk to growers is also greater. It's a real problem and it's important that European customers and consumers take into account this new phenomenon, which is no longer so new and is here to stay, that inevitably has and will continue to increase the cost of eating.”
“You can't keep paying a producer 7 cents for a kilo of onions,” stated Jean Claude, especially when there's been a generational change problem in agriculture that will surely increase, he added. “If we want agriculture to work well and we want to continue having farmers, there has to be an understanding, collaboration, commitment, and decent prices for all actors in the food chain, and in particular for farmers. Otherwise, things are going to be very complicated, as is happening to the carrots this year.”
“Agriculture is one of the few businesses in the world in which those who invest their money and effort to produce something have to wait for someone else to tell them how much what they have produced costs.”
For more information:
El Cortijo Bio S.L
Finca La Luna
Ctra. Medina-Benalup, Km. 5.5
11179 San José de Malcocinado, Cádiz (España)
Telf.: +34 956 41 71 88