Opinion editorial by Roberto García Torrente, Manager of Agrifood Innovation at Cajamar
A decade ago there were many organisations which, frequently and passionately, passed on the message regarding the need to increase the concentration level of the fruit and vegetable offer in particular, and agrifood in general.
However, this issue has lost some of its relevance and is rarely raised now in opinion columns and in debates. What is the reason behind such an abrupt change? Have we already reached the right concentration? Or do we no longer consider that this variable is important to improve the sector’s competitiveness and profitability?
We should start by answering the last question, as it would seem to be the easiest of the three. Of course, we continue giving our opinion that in the current context a larger minimum scale is needed. We must remain aware that size is not an end in itself, but rather a means to be able to obtain certain advantages. It is easier to for larger companies to have a direct relationship with the distribution chains, ensure the supply in quality, variety and schedules, access lines of research and differentiation, have the best professionals and in short, obtain greater value for the marketed products, along with being more efficient in cost reduction.
To the question of whether we have reached the right concentration, I would venture to say no, but we are moving in the right direction.
Here in Spain, there is a very fast evolution in the main fruit and vegetable growing companies and there is a group of them that is experiencing very intensive growth, both due to the incorporation of other groups and due to organic growth. This process has meant that the top ten companies in the sector have gone from invoicing 2,187 million in 2007 to 3,667 million euros in 2016. That is to say, a 68% growth figure in ten years.
In the case of Almeria, the evolution has been very similar, with the ten largest companies going from invoicing 1,083 million euros in 2007 to 1,842 million in 2016.
This process will almost certainly continue occurring over the next few years, although we are not talking about it as much.