The Spanish greenhouse vegetable season has restarted in Almeria. The high gas price that the Dutch growers are facing is an opportunity for the Spanish growers, according to Miguel Gonzalez of MG Fruit. "There is definitely talk about that. Especially the Dutch tomato crop under light was on the rise over the last few years. This is now becoming terribly expensive in the winter and the Spanish don't mind that, of course."
"But don't get me wrong, costs are also skyrocketing in Spain. No matter who you spoke to in Madrid last week, it was the talk of the day. In terms of electricity, Spain is even the second most expensive country in the EU, but the costs of cardboard, plastic and personnel have also skyrocketed," continues the experienced fresh produce trader who has now been working in the Dutch fresh produce trade for 43 years. In 2014, he started MG Fruit with a specialisation in pineapples, melons, watermelons, citrus, stone fruits, greenhouse vegetables and soft fruits.
"After a rather difficult Spanish melon season, it is nice to start a new season positively again. That applies to the greenhouse vegetables at the moment, but also, for example, to the Brazilian melons, which are off to a fantastic start. We started with several greenhouse vegetables from Almeria. Traditionally, prices still fluctuate a lot during this first period; one day they fly up and the next day they drop again, but the overall picture is positive at the moment and the quality of the trade is good," continues Miguel.
A general trend in Spain in recent years, he says, has been the rise of flavour focused tomatoes. "Round tomatoes are still plentiful and find their way into processing and the hospitality sector, but partly due to Dutch breeding know-how, more and more Spanish flavour tomatoes are making their appearance." To respond to this trend, MG fruit has recently added a specialist in the form of Luis Ramos who has with many established relationships in the field of tomatoes and greenhouse vegetables from Spain, and responds to the specific wishes of the customer. "The path from the source to the end-user must become shorter and shorter to keep it profitable for everyone."
The Netherlands, according to Miguel, will certainly still play a role in the sale of Spanish greenhouse vegetables. "The large contracts for retail will certainly be filled from Spain, but with our mix of sales to retail, wholesale and foodservice, with which we operate both with programmes and on the free market, we can easily fill the gaps. If a retailer has too little, we meet their demand. If he receives too much, we can offload their product!"