“We must educate about local consumption”

Llorenç

The PGI Poma de Girona is closing the year with the presentation of its new image, in which the main claim lies in the value of locally-grown produce.

Llorenç Frigola, chairman of the PGI Poma de Girona, talked to Fruit Today.

You have always been very aggressive in matters regarding sustainability. A sustainability that is closely linked to local consumption.

Yes, indeed. From the environmental and agronomic point of view, I think that we have done our homework, but we need to add an extra chapter to this concept that no longer depends on us, but rather on the consumers and on the large supermarkets. I think that, now more than ever, due to the context of the pandemic, the purchasing managers at the supermarkets and also the individual shoppers must give priority to acquiring local produce, which is what will create jobs here and make a tax contribution.

There are increasingly more commercials with apples from other sources.

Without a doubt. This is something we are seeing every day. For this reason, I think that the time has come to launch a categorical message on this point, as well as explaining that, even more so in this situation, nationally-grown produce must be promoted, as other countries are doing in order to protect themselves. The foundations of our future project must lie in a supportive effect, as we have seen that we cannot base ourselves exclusively on a service economy.

Regarding marketing and advertising campaigns by other European operators, specifically, the Italian ones, I must say that they have important budgets, at times subsidised by the State itself and to a certain extent it is logical for them to be seeking out markets by appealing to the goodness of their natural properties, but consumers must know that there are Spanish apples available and if they want to be consistent, it is always better to eat nationally-grown produce.

We do not have such enormous budgets, and we are committed to daily work, quality and price to continue slowly gain market share. We don’t understand how a commercial that advertises a product from another country can be successful. Added to this, food shipping causes 25% of atmospheric CO2. These premises indicate that we must educate about locally-grown apples. It is disheartening to see how Polish apples continue to arrive on the Spanish market. In Poland, labour is three times cheaper than in our country.

How have the harvest and the start of this campaign developed? To what degree have the costs related to the pandemic had an effect?

Firstly, I want to point out that we have been very cautious when establishing safeguards and we have not suffered from any COVID outbreaks. The 80 producers belonging to Poma de Girona have just finished the harvest of the four varieties associated to the PGI. Our forecasts showed a 14% drop in the harvest, but in reality, 20% less that estimated entered the warehouses. We have less fruit, but it has a very good quality. This situation means that we must sell with a 20% price increase to compensate this drop in production, along with a 10% rise in costs due to COVID.

Up to December consumption is usually low, but this year it has been more fluid, even in the last quarter, although it is true that the current situation is creating confusion and irregularity in the orders, making it difficult to make any forecasts in the short and medium terms.

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