The production of red fruits in Huelva in Spain has experienced a drop this season due to the unfavorable climatic conditions. Despite everything, exports have increased, but Spanish farmers are after Morocco.
Blueberries and raspberries saw a drop of 10% and 4.5% in their respective productions, according to data from Freshuelva.
The Association of Strawberry Producers and Exporters of Huelva, Freshuelva, reported that the sector ended the 2022-2023 campaign with a total production of 243,310 tons of strawberries, down 10% compared to the same period of the year. last.
These results are mainly explained by the meteorological factor which greatly influences the red fruits, which are very sensitive to heat and which require very precise temperatures for their growth and the development of large sizes.
The weather was indeed very damaging for the plantations, in particular the excessive heat recorded during planting, which forced the replanting of up to almost 30% in certain cases of plants, or the extreme cold recorded in the south of Spain at the start of the year.
In addition, the extreme heat recorded in April impacted the quality of fruit in Spain, giving rise to a raspberry campaign ending with a production of 47,750 tonnes, down 4.5% compared to the campaign. former.
The blueberry campaign recorded a drop of 10% and production was around 53,190 tonnes of fruit. For their part, blackberries remained stable at 2,000 tonnes, as in the previous season.
And despite the drop in production of raspberries and blueberries, the prices of these fruits increased, and the value of exports remained stable or even increased since until May, raspberries increased by 0.22 % compared to the same period of the previous year with exports valued at nearly 571 million euros.
In the case of blueberries, the increase in export value amounted to 1.27% with exports valued at almost 219 million euros. The biggest increase was recorded by blackberries with exports valued at 14.3 million euros and an increase of 61.2%.
“The resumption of production (of blueberries) in April and May, however, came up against strong competition on the markets, in particular from third countries such as Morocco, which caused an oversupply, a collapse in prices and a drop in supply in June with the resulting price increase,” noted the Sevillaabc site.
Same thing for raspberries, in Spain we prefer to see the good harvest of Morocco which however suffered from the same inclement weather conditions. For Spanish farmers, they should thus be the only ones to sell red fruits in Europe, while benefiting from the Moroccan workforce.
“The first part of the raspberry campaign was marked by low prices on the markets and, above all, by very strong competition from third countries such as Morocco, which Freshuelva denounces year after year before the EU”, indicated the Spanish site, forgetting that there is a law of free competition and that by the way, the big farmers of red fruits in Morocco are Spanish.
This year, Moroccan seasonal workers were also late in coming to help with the harvest in the fields. Expected for early January, they only arrived in small groups around January 10.
The arrivals were staggered on different crossing ferries from Tangier to the ports of Algeciras, Tarifa and Cadiz, from where they were transferred to the various farms of Huelva.
Some groups were three weeks late, especially in April and in the end, the group of pickers reached 14,580 people out of the 15,350 initially planned.