Antonio Caballero, Manager of Frutas Torero, one of most seasoned companies in grape marketing in Spain, explains to Fruit Today how the campaign is going
According to the businessman, whose company specialises in exports of seedless grapes to the European markets, “the season started off very well owing to the fact that the significant Egyptian sector ended earlier than expected,” and this has encouraged Spanish exporters to enter European markets with a high demand during July and August.
The current situation shows that up to week 37, the volume of harvested grapes is higher than on the same date in other campaigns.
However, some incidents such as the localised, very heavy rainfall in very specific regions during week 35 should be mentioned. “Depending on the locations of the vineyards, the fruit has been affected by the heat and the humidity, but always in very specific areas, not in general.”
The competition by Italian operators has also been noted from the same week. “The Italian pressure with a considerable offer to put on the markets has contributed to a drop in prices, which has also affected Spanish grapes in two of the main destinations, Germany and the United Kingdom,” the executive from Murcia explains.
At this juncture, “if there are no surprises with the weather and we don’t lose any harvesting days, it is very likely that this season will end earlier than in other years,” Caballero suggests.
Frutas Torero has made a significant investment in grapes as opposed to stone fruit. Accordingly, the company is immersed in a serious variety renewal. Last year they renewed around 25 hectares with varieties such as Sweet Globe®, Blanca®, Crimson® and Kelly®, as well as Sweet Celebration® and Allison®, in red varieties. “We are highly satisfied with the step we have taken because, although we have to pay royalties, they are very consistent varieties, with a taste more in line with the times we are living in and that allow us to keep up-to-date as a company.”
Although the company from Abarán has always been characterised for exploring and reaching distant markets, there has been a variation this season due to the logistical problems being suffered in some ports and to which are added an important increase in freight costs. “This year, to avoid complications, we decided to not sell on overseas markets due to the rise in freight costs and the container backlogs in different ports all over the world.”
With respect to the last stone fruit campaign, the businessman qualifies it, in general, as acceptable, with the month of May showing many disadvantages due to the cold that was recorded in Europe and the lack of demand, an aspect that was corrected as the campaign moved forward. “However, it should be mentioned that although Murcia enjoys earlier harvests than other production areas and this is beneficial for the region, the production costs are greater, starting with the price of water.”