“We must not let lettuces become luxury produce”

G.H. Murciana de Vegetales advocates the full operation of the desalination plants to alleviate the water deficit

The lettuce campaign started in October with the first orders and a “correct” quality, and, in the case of G.H. Murciana de Vegetales, with stability in volume and without too many problems due to the lack of water, a situation that they are facing up to by diversifying their production areas. “In the summer we work in Albacete, which allows us to store some water reserves for the start of the campaign.” However, we should remain alert because “obviously there are fewer resources than last year due to the water transfer.” The general manager of the company from Murcia, Enrique Serrano, is asking the Administrations to carry out the transfer from the Middle Tajo River to the Tajo-Segura and to start fully operating the desalination plants such as Valdelentisco, reaching 100% of the production. “We must take this subject seriously because it affects us all. Today, farmers have less water from the desalination plants because it is being used for human consumption, which is completely understandable, and for this reason we ask for their capacity to be extended.” Only in this way can the feasibility of the sector be guaranteed.

G.H. Murciana de Vegetales specialises in lettuces. It cultivates 800 hectares in Murcia, Albacete and Almeria of Little Gem, Romaine, Mini romaine (red and green) and Cresta (a variety that is exclusive to this company and that their R&D department developed several years ago). Added to these last year were three typologies in the ecological range (romaine, mini romaine and baby) and as a new development for this year, they have also incorporated iceberg and broccoli to their ‘bio’ range. This commitment to ecological production responds not only to the increase in demand for healthier foods, but also to the company’s own philosophy, which advocates sustainability and a reduction in chemical products. “Every year we use more ‘eco’ solutions on our conventional crops.”

Alongside these steps towards greater sustainability, Serrano indicates another one, looking to the future. A step that he mentioned last October in the speech he moderated during the symposium Lettuce Attraction, “Innovation and value in the leaf sector”: the need to look for varieties that allow greater use of the product or, in other words, varieties with fewer leaves that cannot be used. “In the fields and warehouses many outer leaves are removed because today virtually everything is sold packaged, such as our lettuce hearts where everything packaged is used and not as loose produce as occurred previously, where many leaves were wasted” and it is a shame because a great deal of water is used to produce these leaves that are thrown away.”

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