Target: 100% home-produced seeds

Peregrín is strengthening its R&D and already has purple garlic with germ developed in its vegetable health laboratory

Five years ago, Peregrín started an innovative project alongside Ifapa de Churriana: the start-up of a sanitation protocol, by way of growing meristems and micro-propagation of a commercial variety of purple garlic. A task that has allowed the company from Almeria to lay the foundations of its new seed sanitation laboratory, where it will deal with the germ of its crops. This campaign, the project has become a reality: the company already has its own seeds of purple garlic in the fields, also following Zerya’s zero waste protocol. In five years, the company foresees cultivating 700 hectares “without depending on others,” as confirmed by Juan Salvador Peregrín, Manager for Garlic, to Fruit Today.

Peregrín, the main producer and marketer of garlic in Spain, has a surface area of 1,150 hectares in different crop-growing areas, with an annual volume of around 15 million kilos. Within its extensive range, purple garlic stands out, a crop in which the company specialises and of which they produce 50% of the total marketed under the PGI Ajo Morado de Las Pedroñeras. Over the past two years, one of the lines where they have increased most is with ecological crops, which represents 20% of its total volume.

A large part of its garlic, between 70 and 75%, is exported to destinations such as Europe, USA and North Africa, and also markets such as Japan and Australia are beginning to appreciate the merits of purple garlic. Quality is the area where Peregin puts most emphasis. “We try to differentiate ourselves, and to do this we have all the protocols possible.” It is one way of guaranteeing maximum standards to consumers and keeping up with the competition (with China in the lead), and the geopolitical problems. The latter is Brazil’s threat to raise duties on garlic by 19%. An “outrage”, which will make the sector suffer (around 15% of Spanish garlic exports travel to the South American giant) in a “complicated” year, added to the sawtooth variations suffered by prices since 2005.

Following China, “our garlic has the greatest yield per hectare and is the most professional,” but it should improve in one aspect: technification, a key aspect due to high labour costs, worsened after the increase in the minimum interprofessional wage. At present, there are no machines that cut the root, only the stem. In Peregrin’s case, they have invested € 140,000 in specific machinery for garlic stem cutting to be used for seeds and cleaning processes.

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