Spanish lettuce exports are increasing as the productions of central and northern Europe have started to decline due to the arrival of the cold. Broccoli is also starting to be exported, although it will take about two weeks for large distribution chains to make the switch to the production in southern Europe.
"We have been exporting lettuce to Europe for about three weeks, although we are now working with more consistent volumes. At the moment, we are at 75% of our capacity in terms of volume, but in two weeks we will be working at full capacity," says Domingo Llamas, President of the Murcian group Hoyamar.
At the moment, the firm is working with iceberg, romaine and baby romaine lettuce, as well as organic broccoli, although in about fifteen days it will also have other lettuce specialties, such as the lollo rosso, lollo biondo or oak leaf and, at the end of November, the marketing of the first cabbages will begin.
"Northern European operators are starting to lack lettuce from local producers, so sales are smooth and a good transition is underway towards the Spanish production. Lettuce prices are good, while broccoli is barely profitable. We have only been marketing broccoli for four days and northern Europe will still have production for at least two weeks, in which we expect the switch to take place and prices will improve," says Domingo Llamas. Besides European countries, the company also exports to Canada and the Middle East.
While last season was very harsh due to excessive rainfall, this year the uncertainty in the sector is caused by the frequent and unpredictable changes in the measures adopted to stop the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic.
"The truth is that right now we could use a little rain, although what worries us the most is the possible impact of the pandemic in our daily work and in the exports to each country, which will depend on the regulations adopted to stop the virus. These are taking a toll on transport, mobility in the warehouses and in the fields, the restaurant and wholesale channel, etc. There are rumors that there could even be supermarket closings on certain days in some Eastern European countries," says Hoyamar's representative.
Domingo Llamas Fernández