The avocado campaign has seen how the regular problems have been joined by other circumstantial ones. We talked about this with Juan Antonio Reyes, the Manager from Reyes Gutiérrez
You have an ambitious growth plan in progress to reach 1,000 hectares of your own crops. How is the adding of the farms going to be staggered and in which areas are they located?
Currently, we have around 500 hectares of land, of which around 200 have already been sown and this spring another 100 will be planted. In the spring of 2023, we will plant the rest until completing the 500 hectares of this first phase. Our goal is to reach 1,000 between 2025-2030, although this is going to be difficult, as the areas are increasing their demand and it is an important volume.
The hydrological year started off as the second driest of the century and as the months go by, the situation is becoming more disturbing for the Spanish fields. How is this affecting your avocado and mango crops?
The drought is a serious problem at present and we all want it to be resolved, but we must opt for innovating and taking proper advantage of the resources. Rainwater, treated and desalinated water make up a pool that would allow these water stress episodes to be avoided. We must act and we must have an alternative in order to not reach this critical point.
The avocado campaign has been influenced by the weather conditions. The campaign is going well, and we will have to wait until the end to take stock, but we are satisfied with our work and the image that end consumers have of Spanish avocados. Regarding mangos, it is too soon to say anything; we don’t have enough information to be able to draw any conclusions.
Could areas such as the Portuguese Algarve and other areas in Spain such as Valencia be an ‘escape route’ to guarantee production?
They could be, and they already are. Valencia, Portugal, Cadiz, Huelva are making up an increasingly more representative volume of the total production on the Iberian mainland.
Another important problem is the increase in the price of inputs and labour expenses, made worse by the war in Ukraine. To what extent have expenses increased?
The increase is quite representative and it is not only due to the Ukraine war which, obviously, has had an influence, but rather they have been increasing over the past year with the shortages and the rise in the price of raw materials and fuels.
For several months now imports of fruit from third countries such as Colombia, Israel and Peru have caused the sales rate to slow down. Added to this is the fact that more volume is arriving every year, both from these countries and from Morocco. How does all this affect Spanish produce? What future do you think the sector will have?
Spanish produce is increasingly competing with other sources during its campaign, as the rise in planted hectares and in production in Colombia, Israel and Peru are growing every year. This means that there is greater variety and offer on the market and there are problems at certain times of the campaign, but Spain must compete with what it knows, such as proximity, and quality and being able to delivery produce in 48/72 hours all over Europe.
The sector is facing up to a different era, although our goals, mission and view are all lined up to resolve the obstacles that we could find along the way.
In the short and/or medium term, will it be necessary to adjust the prices at source to compete with this increase in volume on the markets?
Probably, but we are trying to increase our volumes in Spain and to offer our clients local, quality produce all year long.