Almeria, as a world benchmark in greenhouse crops, is highly attractive for diversifying a catalogue towards vegetables such as peppers, courgettes, tomatoes or cucumbers.
With this in mind, the company created a technological research centre in Vicar in 2017. Francisco Morales, head of protected crops at Sakata Iberia, indicates that “the variety selection must be made with the local conditions to ensure their perfect behaviour. Taking into account that we are increasingly facing up to new challenges such as the increase in temperatures, salinity or lack of water…”
Almeria’s main crop is the pepper, a vegetable on which Sakata has put its spotlight. One of the recently implanted varieties is the red California pepper Sibac, a variety for early transplants from the 1st of June to the 10th of July. Likewise, they have introduced the variety Juma, another red California for medium cycle in protected crops. They also have Vima, an Italian pepper for transplanting in August, which is giving very good quality results.
However, this is not the only crop to which they have given importance, as they emphasise that they do not want to be dependent on a single crop.
For this reason, the company is maintaining an important activity in other segments such as the vine tomato: “it is in a pre-commercial phase, and we hope to provide farmers with a solution with a homogeneous calibre and a very nice vine formation and with a very early harvest. A top-quality tomato, firm and with a good colour,” Morales explains.
For Sakata Ibérica it is important to respond to the market requirements regarding commercial production, but above all, product quality is important: “It is not worth having a variety that produces 30% more, but then the marketer has to discard 50%. Our primary objective is to look for production with quality,” the specialist concludes.
Enhancing the sector’s work
For Morales, one of the sector’s pending subjects is to highlight its own value. “We are adding value to people’s health; we are providing a beneficial product. Other sectors know how to sell their products better than us. This is a pending subject, investing in marketing and communication and selling the good work that we are doing. Starting with us, as we are the seed of the entire chain.”