The year 2019 in Almeria has been marked by a price crisis, the difficulties of the agricultural model and the weather adversities. In this period, there has also been a downward trend in the production of tomatoes, to such an extent that peppers have taken over the lead.
For Andrés Góngora, secretary of COAG, this change in leadership in vegetables has been partly a consequence of “the appearance of virosis this year, especially in tomatoes. We are concerned that this new strain has hit the product."
In terms of prices, there is also unanimity about the fact that this situation must be reversed. Asaja says that "2019 has been a bad year when it comes to prices in the province's vegetable sector, with a winter that has not been profitable, since the increase in costs and strong external competition makes us less competitive." Sources of UPA recalled that in order to get out of this situation "it is essential to have a strong and firm Common Agricultural Policy, with agreements with third countries that are strictly regulated."
There are difficulties with Almeria's agricultural model. Gongora says that small growers are the most "vulnerable" to this situation. The arrival of investment funds in the sector is making “a lot of noise” and “supermarket chains and large buyers are responsible for the situation of price instability, given their position of dominance when it comes to setting prices and the pace of sales.”
Paqui Iglesias also showed her concern and said that “urgent measures” must be adopted due to the “low profitability of small farms, which is causing the model that Almeria has exported across the world to be in a decline.”
Asaja also pointed to "need" for a change in the model and the importance of "coordination at origin and of joint planning, as that would make it easier for the sector to improve its bargaining power."