The strawberry and bilberry campaign is not yet over, but many farmers do not have enough workers, with produce still to be collected in their fields.
The factors behind this lack of labour are competition with the tourism or hospitality sectors, or the transfer of many workers to other agricultural campaigns that have been brought forward due to weather conditions. This is the case of campaigns in the north of Spain, in Italy and Germany, which are also closer to the places of origin of some workers, such as those from Bulgaria and Rumania.
The plants are in full bloom, and due to the impact of the temperature and hours of daylight, the harvesting cycle lasts for two days, which means that the produce must be picked within this time interval.
The current campaign has been characterised by high production costs and a certain vegetative delay in the case of strawberry plants, due to low temperatures in the months of December and January. It was therefore essential to extend it as much as possible, but due partially to a lack of labour, the end of the campaign has been brought forward, especially in the case of strawberries.
Indirectly, this situation also affects the workers that prepare and market the fruit, the manufacturing of containers, as well as transportation, due to a lack of produce.
For almost a decade, it has been impossible to enjoy a normal season due mainly to a lack of labour. In addition to the Moroccan workers that are authorised to work in Spain due to a special agreement, workers had to be brought from Ecuador and Honduras this year. The red and citrus fruit campaign is the province of Huelva’s second economic driving force, with tourism being the first.