The cooperative grew between 6-7% in a “quite irregular” campaign and is now opting for diversification
Although the 2018/19 agricultural campaign has been quite irregular, with a spring where the prices “were not very buoyant” and that was marked by many problems with yellow leaf curl virus and Trips, the overall balance for Coprohníjar is positive. The cooperative has grown by between 6-7%, reaching an invoicing similar to last year’s, with 60 million Euros.
The forecasts for 2019/20 follow the same lines, but with an important difference: “We are going to grow fewer tomatoes,” Juan Segura, chairman of Coprohníjar told Fruit Today. Cherry tomatoes will be the main crop affected by this decrease, and their space will be mainly taken by courgettes, and by aubergines and peppers, new crops that are being added to the ecological range to diversify the offer.
“We are still trying out new materials and we are currently carrying out trials with functional varieties to try to find options that satisfy consumers regarding flavour and also have a post-harvest that is acceptable to retailers.”
And as Segura confirms, “we cannot drop our guard, we must carry on fighting for tomatoes,” a crop that is falling every year throughout the sector due to the high labour costs and the unfair competition from sources all around the Mediterranean basin. “Tunisia, Turkey, Egypt, Senegal… it is not just Morocco now. These countries can afford to sell cheaper than us due to their low labour costs, and this profit margin is suffocating Spanish producers.”
The future lies in ‘eco’
The company from Níjar repeats its commitment to bio crops and the 90 hectares it has had up to now for all its products (mainly tomatoes and watermelons), are going to become 150 ha in 2020. In just a few years, the company has tripled its ecological production surface area. A booming alternative that brings greater profitability to producers.