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“Uncertainty is the word of today”

Navarro de Haro

Input prices continue to rise and growing 1 ha of watermelons could cost around 4,000€ more than last year, according to Agrícola Navarro de Haro

The watermelon campaign is being tackled with more questions than ever before. In the sector they are talking about important reductions in watermelons, with around 15% less surface area. In the case of Agrícola Navarro de Haro, the company from Almeria predicts maintaining last campaign’s production figures, as they have the same sales forecasts.

“We will control around 700 hectares including our own farms and agreements with third parties where we completely manage and control the plots of land,” explains the Manager, José Navarro. Although he confesses that the campaign is arriving with “uncertainty as the word of today,” he foresees that the reduction in crop surface area will have repercussions on watermelon prices. He predicts that “they will be significantly higher owing to the increase in costs, meaning that the demand will drop somewhat.”

“At present we cannot calculate the effects of the war on our activity because the prices go up every day; it is complete madness,” the Manager explains. Although with the figures for March, he calculates that growing a hectare of watermelons will cost around € 4,000 more compared to last year.

Another problem, this time one that has been dragging on for some time, is the water shortage. “The drought affects all the companies involved in farming. We have farms with less water where we cannot produce 100%. It is a problem that affects us in all the areas where we have production,” he affirms. In order to try to alleviate the water shortage, technology is being implanted to control irrigation, aimed at taking full advantage of every drop of water and new production areas have been found in Hellín, Jumilla and Yecla (Murcia) to guarantee the same plantation programme as last year.

At the same time, they continue opting for quality, applying improvements to the production systems and to the machinery, both in the fields and in the warehouses.

A degree of quality that is impressed on all its products, both on its own brand watermelons, and on the ones they produce as members of the AGF Group (a group that today is presided over by José Navarro himself). “Having the Fashion brand is always a bonus; we hope to stay in the same position and to open up new work lines.”

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