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“Abandoned, hydrologically-speaking”

Juan López pozosur

Pozo Sur is facing up to the watermelon campaign in a particularly tough year as far as water is concerned, but maintaining the same surface areas as in previous years

The hydrological year started off as the second driest of the century. Bad news for the agricultural sector, and particularly for products that are as closely linked to this resource as watermelons (we should not forget that up to 92% of this fruit is water).

The situation is worsening every year, to the point that Juan López, the manager of one of main watermelon producers and marketers, Pozo Sur, affirms that “hydrologically-speaking, we have been completely abandoned.”

For many years, the company from Aguilas has tried to optimise this insufficient resource, even opting for the drastic solution of eliminating their ecological watermelon line, when they realised that its consumption with regard to water sustainability and carbon footprint was “madness”, as Juan López advanced to Fruit Today last year.

Another problem is the escalation of input prices. According to PROEXPORT’s calculations, gathered from data provided by its members, amongst which is Pozo Sur, the cost of producing melons and watermelons has increased this year by 21% compared to the previous campaign. A figure that “has been exceeded by the events currently occurring, such as the Ukraine war.” In the middle of this scenario, Juan López states that the sector is facing up to the campaign with “considerable uncertainty, as the costs could be substantially increased, but it is still too soon to know the impact it could have and how far-reaching it could be.”

In spite of everything, his company is continuing along the same lines, and in the 2022 campaign, they expect to maintain the same surface area of watermelons as in previous years, around 700 hectares.

“Our forecast is to maintain the line, as we consider that our market is very mature; therefore, our goal is to consolidate our volume and positioning on the market, he states. How the campaign develops will depend “on the weather, on whether the watermelons set well and obviously, on the temperatures at the destinations.”

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