This is what is being observed from Freshuelva in the first part of the campaign. “The situation could vary, but at the moment it is what it is and third countries, such as Morocco, are taking advantage of the European economic crisis,” Rafael Domínguez, Manager of Freshuelva, explains.
This has also been the general trend experienced with the raspberry campaign this autumn, in which our Moroccan neighbour took very advanced positions in Europe at the expense of Huelva raspberries, which are seeing a reduction in their production hectares. “The cost differential between our products and those from third countries is always on the rise in a context in which consumers increasingly look at the prices.”
“All of this is framed by a panorama in which the costs of energy, packaging and fertilisers have all shot up. We must also add having to fulfil the new Regulation on containers and packaging, which affects us directly and, as of today, we don’t know how to fit it in, bureaucratically, in our companies.”
In terms of production, the high temperatures reached in the autumn and the lack of humidity in the soil caused the plants to die between October and November due to hydric stress. Between 12% and 15% have had to be replanted, meaning they are going to be a month behind the usual season. In any event, the volume of strawberries for the present campaign is remaining stable and a figure of 270,000 tonnes is expected.
“This is always worrying, but we hope that with the increase by around 5,000 people of the Moroccan contingent, which will get to 16,000, along with the workers from Honduras and Ecuador, we won’t have any problems, at least during the first part of the campaign. The second part is always more difficult because it coincides with other fruit coming into production.”
Next Generation Funds
At Freshuelva, it is hoped that the arrival of this European capital before the end of the year will at least be translated into aid for irrigation. “In 2018 the Law for the Condado water transfer was passed and the Committee has not even met up yet. We hope that, at least, the work on the San Silvestre tunnel, which is smaller, will be carried out.”
Tax on plastic
The organisation from Huelva expects that, as berries are highly sensitive produce, they should be excluded from the recent legislation that foresees that the sale units of less than one and a half kilos must be sold loose. And on the other hand, the organisation is also paying close attention to see how this non-recycled plastic tax is articulated, which taxes its use at 0.45 euros per kilogram of acquired material. “Today, there is a great deal of confusion as to how the companies must articulate the use of plastic packaging, but we also have a disadvantage because we are the only Europeans who have this tax and 85% of the Freshuelva production goes to foreign markets,” the executive from Huelva concludes.