Balcón de Níjar is opting for Rijk Zwaan’s variety to diversify its range
David Caparrós, manager of the ecological farming company Balcón de Níjar, categorically affirms that “there is already a great deal of California peppers on the market.” For this reason, they have decided to diversify their range with a product as “interesting” as Sweet Palermo, the variety from Rijk Zwaan. “It is in demand because it is flavourful, which is what the market is looking for. As it is a premium product, we believe that it could work quite well” with regard to prices. “They are bringing in double the price of bio California in the supermarkets.” They will start marketing the first harvest this summer and they will continue with the winter cycle. They forecast reaching an average of 7,000kg/week from July to March and their main destinations will be supermarkets in Germany, Holland and Spain.
Previously, the company has incorporated references such as the California (winter), aubergine, peas and mini watermelons, although their star product continues to be the cherry tomato. In this segment, they have extended the surface are in round, plum and vine summer cherry tomato crops. “There is still a demand for round cherry tomatoes, but the plum tomato is on the rise, both in conventional and bio productions. Even Central Europe is producing plum tomatoes due to the greater flavour and they have virtually stopped growing round cherry tomatoes.”
Apart from the changes in the demand, the low prices at source (up until May, all the months have had lower prices than last year, particularly in March with a 20% differential compared to last year), and the increase in costs due to the rise in the National Minimum Wage, suggest a more than foreseeable drop in the surface area for round cherry tomato, while plum tomatoes could remain stable. “The rise in the NMW has affected us badly. Either the supermarkets raise the buying prices or the production of cherry tomato crops will be moved to Morocco or Turkey as has already happened with beans. They should be aware of the situation and be able to pay a fair price.”