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Taking risks to attend to customers

In spite of the difficulties due to the drought, companies such as Agroter are opting for maintaining the surface area in order to reach 15 million kg in 2016

The SAT from Lorca expects to repeat 2016’s production with 15 million kg of broccoli, 2.5 million kg of cauliflowers and 3 million kg of artichokes (in the case of watermelons, they will add another 9 million kg, reaching 30). “We are taking the risk,” the chairman, Vicente Ruiz states, “and we are doing this to try to attend to our customers.” And the fact is that broccoli consumption has not stopped growing in Europe, with 5 kg per capita in the United Kingdom, a figure that is closely followed by Germany and France. “When the rector of the University of London commented on television that broccoli has many health benefits, consumption started to grow,” Ruiz recalls. A trend that is being fed by consumers’ ‘healthy’ currents, which increasingly advocate the consumption of super foods. Even other more ‘traditional’ produce, such as cauliflowers are on the rise after a few years of being in the doldrums. “Orders have increased; in Europe this produce is becoming more popular and we have had to increase the volumes.” This, along with the new varieties from the seed companies, has encouraged sales of Spanish produce. “The high temperatures meant that the cauliflower heads acquired a yellower tone, whilst with today’s materials we are obtaining a whiter colour, which is what the rest of the European markets want.”

Most of Agroter’s sales are concentrated in the EU, a natural market that has not stopped growing. “We are increasing our market share in Poland and the Czech Republic, and last year we started operating in Norway.”

The company has farms in Lorca and it has relocated the production to higher areas in the summer, moving to Castilla-La Mancha and Granada. It mainly produces and markets fresh vegetables and, for the past few years, it has been selling a line of broccoli sprouts that is gradually growing. Its next challenge is the ecological crop. “We are in the middle of reconverting two of our farms and they already use the zero waste policy.”

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