More watermelons at Coprohníjar

The cooperative has added 30 hectares of watermelons at the expense of tomatoes.
coprohnijar Francisco De Ves

The increase in costs of inputs and in workforce expenses have led Coprohníjar to change their planning compared to previous years. In this campaign, they will add another 30 hectares of the spring crop, at the expense of tomatoes. Additionally, they will have around 15% less volume in the early cycle (from the 15th of April to the 15th of May), strengthening the crops in high regions such as Huéneja and Baza (Granada) from the 15th of May to the end of June.

In total, they will have 230 hectares devoted to watermelon crops.

Regarding quality, Francisco De Ves, Chairman of Coprohníjar, expects this campaign to be better than the previous one. In 2022, the bad weather conditions and the incidence of aphids caused many problems and the harvest saw a 40% reduction. For this reason, the cooperative is strengthening its farmers’ training in biological control, a subject in which they were pioneers in the region and that is now applied to 50% of the watermelon crop area. “Our aim is to increase this figure and to fine-tune the processes. There are already pests that can only be treated with comprehensive fighting due to the reduction of active matter.”

More bio

For the next campaign, Francisco De Ves foresees that the surface area for ecological crops will exceed the traditional ones, reaching between 55-60%. Currently, they have 200 has in bio, and from the 1st of September more farms that are being changed over will enter this system.

They are upholding this strategy in spite of the changes that inflation is causing in the demand by consumers. “In France, a decline in consumption of bio produce is starting to be observed. From the 1st of September to the 5th of March there was a 28% drop in bio sales in the sector.” And on the main bio market in Europe, Germany, the discount stores are taking over part of the sales from conventional supermarkets.

On a market with a downward trend due to the economic situation, along with the death throes of Brexit, Coprohníjar’s aim is to “increase productivity and yield, which are essential in order to be competitive.”

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