The Spanish company Tropical millenium, based in Malaga, sells avocados, mangoes and papayas, offering integral solutions in the purchase, sale and consumption. Papayas are the third fruit that has been added to the company's project, and despite having worked with it for only two years, the expectations are high. Papayas are known as the "health fruit" and this was one of the reasons why the managers decided to give it a try.
"Although we market papayas all year round, supplying Formosa from Brazil, Ecuador and the Canary Islands, we have a commitment to the fruit's production in the Peninsula. It is a challenge, although we are pioneers, and the climatology is not the same as in South America or the Canaries, which does not make things easier," explains Jorge Bara, deputy manager of Tropical millenium.
In Brazil or in the Canary Islands the temperatures remain stable day and night, without big jumps, which is exactly the opposite of what is observed in the Andalusian provinces. This results in the papayas having not just a sweeter taste, but an impeccable skin. "Here, in the Axarquía, we don't have these conditions, so the product's adaptation is more expensive, since it requires specialised heated greenhouses and, therefore, of different qualities," affirms Jorge.
The model in the Canary Islands corresponds to small growers who abandoned the cultivation of tomatoes because of their low profitability and started focusing on papayas. A similar situation is being observed in Almeria. The goal is to produce a high quality papaya by improving and adapting the greenhouses, thereby making the investment profitable.
"There is a growing market, so the goal is to get even closer to the quality of Brazilian papayas, producing it in Spain to be able to have a competitive advantage. The high prices of imported papaya from South America are due to expensive airfreight," states Bara.
For now, the Intenzza variety is the most suitable for cultivation in Spain, although tests with new varieties are constantly underway.