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“The circle is closing in”

Peregrín has had to leave 300 hectares unplanted due to water shortages. It has 1,300 hectares of iceberg and other lettuce varieties

Although its star product (and the one that was behind the company’s establishment over 60 years ago) continues to be garlic, SAT Peregrín has diversified its offer and currently it has a wide range of leafy crops and availability 12 months a year in most of the types. Specifically, lettuces are its second product in volume with over 1,000 hectares of cultivating iceberg alone (65 million heads per year), along with another 300 hectares divided amongst baby lettuce, Xanadu, oak leaf lettuce, Salanova (red and green) romaine, Little gem, spinach and endives (flat and curly). They also have another 200 hectares of broccoli and cauliflower (2.6 million kilos per year).

At present, all of these figures are on standby. And the fact is that in this campaign the limiting factor, along with the rest of the sector, is water. “We have had to leave 300 hectares unplanted due to the drought,” David Navarro, coordinator for the Production department states. “In our area, Pulpí, previously there was little water, but now virtually all the supply has been cut off. We are at the mercy of the rain to see what volumes we will be able to grow this year.” In previous years, companies from other regions came to grow their crops in Pulpí, but now there is virtually no scope for action for the companies that are actually from the area. “The circle is closing in because there are not so many production areas that enjoy suitable weather conditions for this type of crop, and without water nothing can be done.”

New developments

A few months ago an important change occurred in the company’s flowchart, which is now directed by Felipe Gómez García in his capacity as general and sales manager. His challenges are “to make a company of people and to clearly opt for innovation in new products.”

In the research segment, the company has started up a project that will be released in 2018 and this centres on its star crop, garlic. It involves a new laboratory to develop their own seeds. It is worth remembering that they already sanitise purple garlic seeds using in vitro cultivation techniques to obtain larger, better quality productions. Thanks to this they have materials that are more resistant to disease and pests; they reduce the use of plant protection products and they have obtained healthier and more environmentally sustainable crops.

Market share

Over the past ten years, Peregrín’s customer base has changed, moving from the wholesale market to customers in the distribution sector and European and Middle Eastern supermarkets. Their main brands are GOLD and La Reine, in addition to GoldBio, Melón Gold, Peregrín Premium, Duende Fresh… On the other hand, they also supply other specific brands on exclusive request by some customers, making designs for different packaging and supporting the brand development on a European scale, the head of Communication and Marketing, Manuela García explains.

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