Once again, the prices received by Almerian producers during the Christmas campaign have been very low, at a time when the province should be the continent's largest supplier of vegetables. However, on this occasion, the situation has been the result of a combination of external factors. One of them has been the protests of the French "yellow vests", which have hindered the circulation of Andalusian trucks, causing delays in the delivery of the goods and reducing the availability of trucks for the transport of fresh produce. Another has been the high temperatures, which allowed competitors to continue supplying significant volumes. Moreover, Almeria's producers have recorded a 15% increase in the production in December compared to the same period of the previous year.
However, with the start of 2019, there has been a turnaround of the situation. The protests and the measures adopted by the producers in Almería and Granada, who closed 2018 with the destruction of up to 1,500 tons of cucumbers, have helped alleviate the situation and prices have already started to rise. Producers have to invest 0.35 Euro to produce a kilo of cucumbers, and before week 49, cucumbers had an acceptable price at origin, but later it dropped as low as 0.22 Euro. Now the price per kilo stands at 0.52 Euro. "However, there is still a lot in storage, awaiting a price rebound. If everything was to be marketed now, and taking into account that the product's freshness and quality are not at their best, the price would fall again and the problem would persist," says the UPA.
Therefore, the Vegetable Sector Organization has organized a meeting to discuss all the inconveniences that the cucumber sector is facing, as well as to find solutions. This meeting has taken place this week at the headquarters of the Government Sub-delegation in Almeria.
The UPA has asked for the further withdrawal of products, but the only ones that can do so are the cooperatives and the Producer Organizations through their operational programs. Moreover, the price paid for the product withdrawn was 0.09 Euro/kilo, without taking into account that the growers themselves must cover the withdrawal costs. Therefore, in the words of Francisca Iglesias, general secretary of UPA Almeria, and vice president of Hortiespaña, "producers currently prefer to sell the product for 0.22 Euro per kilo, rather than withdraw it."