This season will not go down in history as being normal for the greenhouses growers in Almeria. First, the high temperatures recorded in autumn and a warm start of the winter, and now the persistent low temperatures, have caused an unusual panorama that is leading to a generalized lack of kilos of all fruit and vegetable products.
This scenario is practically the same in many related production areas and for other types of crops, as was reflected in the last national fruit and vegetable sectoral meeting.
Cold weather also in Berlin
In fact, this was one of the main topics of conversation between companies from Almeria and their customers during the last edition of the Fruit Logistica fair in the German capital.
The lack of production in the Almerian countryside is clear, for example, the volume of tomato marketed between weeks 5 and 7 is 22% lower than those sold in the same period the previous year.
The pattern is also repeated for cucumber with the percentage of production drop of 21%. In pepper and aubergine the figures exceed 25% of reduction; in the case of courgette the figure is slightly lower at 15%.
According to Luis Miguel Fernández, CEO of the Association of Fruit and Vegetable Growers’ Organisations of Almeria (COEXPHAL); “We were not expecting this situation as the high temperatures were maintained practically until December, however this has also accelerated production throughout the first part of this season”.
The price does not solve the situation
Despite the high prices in recent weeks, the numbers are not adding up. Farmers are earning more per kilo, but the reduction in the volume of production is so high that it is not enough to cover the current gap. In addition there is the constant increase in production costs and the difficulties caused by pests and viruses.
Fernández continues, “For us, the ideal thing would be to be able to maintain a normal production rate because this would help us to balance volume and price for our growers. Our companies are doing the their best to to fulfil all their commitments, but it is practically unfeasible given the circumstances”.
An increase in temperatures over the next few weeks could improve the situation, however it is unknown how the plants will respond to such a changeable climate, first with an exaggerated prolongation of the hot days and then the sudden onset of cold.