Costa de Huelva, pioneers in diversification

At a time when diversification has become a trend, it is worth mentioning that the organisation from Lucena started cultivating raspberries twenty years ago and blueberries a decade ago.

Costa de Huelva, today a part of Onubafruit, was a pioneer in raspberry cultivation and is one of the most relevant producers in Europe. With an important know-how behind it, the Andalusian cooperative markets around three million kilos of raspberries, which are virtually all for the export market.

The destination of the raspberries has always been closely linked to the British market. “Today supermarkets all over the continent are our customers, but the British are true connoisseurs of the product,” Cristóbal Picón, chairman of the cooperative states.

This little berry is a very delicate product, which during the campaign must be harvested within a day, or a day and a half. A good adaptation to the area is necessary, with a specific process for the mother plant, which is introduced into chilled rooms in the summer in order to obtain productions from September to June.

The cooperative. Present in all the projects with a common vision, the company is made up of 140 farmers with small properties, with an average of around 5 hectares of land each. In total, there are around 600 of production hectares linked to the organisation.

Its production distribution is made up of 40% of strawberries, around another 40% of raspberries, 19% of blueberries and 1% of blackberries.

“We are emerging farmers with a young average age and who are eager to do new things. We have some studies about new crop categories pending and, as a unique element, we also work with aloe vera,” Picón adds.

In spite of the entrepreneurial disposition of its farmers, the El Condado region is still suffering from the important problem of lack of water, a problem that has not yet been resolved and that “has always run into the wall of the administrations”, the cooperative’s executive explains, who is also the chairman of the Platform for defending El Condado’s irrigation rights.

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