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“Asparagus producers cannot unite forces”

With relatively small volumes compared to other productions, the asparagus sector in Granada is not united.
Juan Sánchez, manager of ‘Espárragos de Granada’, the second degree cooperative that gathers five local cooperatives together, explains that “asparagus producers have not known how to consolidate the offer and the sources are very scattered”.
“With only around 20 million kilos at source, we continue to be dispersed and we have not been able to bring our interests together to compete against the large purchasers.”
Personality clashes, internal battles, the actual location of the warehouses or political questions of less importance have unleashed internal struggles that “lead us to being disassociated and not having a unified voice with the distribution sector. When this cooperative was created, it was aimed at bringing together over 50% of the production, but this was not possible”, the executive adds.
Last year the S.C.A. Espárragos de Granada reached a volume of 3 million kilos of produce and a growth of 20%, but this year’s forecasts are still up in the air due to the effects of several frosts. “The surface area has continued to increase, but there is a possibility that the yield per hectare might be smaller.”
The organisation, which only markets its own production from its five cooperatives (Agromesías, Espafrom, Agrolachar, Vegachauchina and Espalorquiana), exports the produce to the European markets and only 10% remains on the home market, which requires the thinnest calibres of the produce.
To a lesser extent, it also markets fresh artichokes in the season running from September to November, but “most of our work concentrates on asparagus because we cannot compete with the large artichoke plantations in Murcia,” Sánchez concludes.

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