Pozo Sur is maintaining its resource optimisation strategy and pushing for a change in the legislation to avoid food waste.
Covid-19 has marked the start of imported watermelon sales with a drop in the demand due to the closing of street markets, along with the Horeca channel, on the one hand, and due to the fact that many distributors are refusing to incorporate this produce early to their stock in the present situation.
In this context, companies such as Pozo Sur have shown an “uncertainty” about the start of the national campaign, but they are relying on everything returning to normal once the state of alert has been lifted. Juan López, the manager of Pozo Sur, talked to Fruit Today in March and confirmed that the company was maintaining its work rate to keep the planned harvest on track. Accordingly, this year they expect to maintain last year’s volumes, reaching 75 million kilos in total marketing (62 from their own production).
“The watermelon market is mature; we can’t put pressure on it with more produce than is consumed because we put the farmer’s profitability at risk. We are trying to not exceed last year’s volume. Our strategy is to even reduce the planted surface area, while maintaining the same production volume due to the improvement in our production techniques, optimising the crops,” López explains.
Water efficiency is among the steps that they have taken to make the harvest profitable. Over the past 5 years, they have gone from consuming 67 litres to 40 litres to produce a kilo of watermelons. Additionally, they are applying soil regeneration and recovery techniques, using the integrated production system and studying new steps to continue promoting sustainability.
No more waste
At the time, the quality legislation was a catalyst for the sector, but now it presents a problem. “We can’t throw a watermelon away because it has a crack in its skin. The legislation must be changed to prevent waste and to be consistent. We are saving water in the fields, but if a 6 kg watermelon is thrown away due to a superficial imperfection during the marketing phase, you are not only throwing away the fruit, but also 240 litres of water.” In the case of bio watermelons, the water waste is equivalent to 420 l for each 6kg fruit.