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13.21% less exported up to week 43

Spain: Iceberg lettuce production down compared to last season

According to the technical services of Proexport, there is a significant reduction in the iceberg lettuce harvest volumes. The organisation, formed by the majority of Spanish producers, recorded a 13.2% decline between weeks 36 and 44 compared to the same period of the previous campaign. This season, approximately 9.53 million kilos are expected to be harvested, compared to the 10.98 million kilos of last year.

Murcia is the leading Spanish region in terms of production, followed by Andalusia. Murcia and Almeria are in fact Europe's largest suppliers, especially in the period extending from October to May. In terms of varieties, the iceberg is the most noteworthy, with more than 75% of all exports, followed by Romaine, buds and other specialities. 

While domestic prices have remained surprisingly low at the start of the campaign, many point to a coming upward trend due to the effects of supply and demand. In the Dutch and German wholesale markets, prices ranging between 5 and 7 Euro are already being registered.

Production factors 
Among the factors explaining the still low production levels, the most crucial are the following: 

Firstly, there has been a major adjustment of transplants to commercial supply programmes, trying to prevent overproduction, which in the previous campaign caused a collapse of prices at origin and consequently significant losses.

Also, trying to prevent the overlapping of Spanish and European productions, many growers planted on dates that would allow for a later start than usual. For instance, Cartagena, one of the most important growing areas, is starting the harvest this week.

It should also be noted that, due to the good weather at destination, the harvest in these countries has finished abruptly, between 10 and 15 days earlier than expected, while demand remains at good levels.

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