After three days of an indefinite strike called by the Platform for the Defense of National and International Road Freight Transport Sector, there is already a significant shortage of fruit and vegetables from southern Spain, especially vegetables and strawberries.
"The remaining production of everything that was loaded on Saturday has lasted more or less until yesterday. From now on, we no longer have any vegetables or berries from Huelva, due to the impossibility of any trucks arriving to load or unload, especially in the vegetable and berry-producing areas of southern Spain," says Antonio Montes, commercial director of Frutas Hermanos Montes, an importing and exporting company based in Mercamadrid. It is expected, therefore, that the supply of these products will be limited in the coming days in many parts of Spain."
"This strike is causing severe economic losses for us, since we can neither supply ourselves nor supply our customers or other wholesale markets or supermarket chains in Spain, which is where the marketing activity is being affected the most. We understand the situation that shippers are going through and we know that it is unsustainable, so we hope that a solution will be reached as soon as possible, for the good of all," says Antonio Montes.
According to the Association of Fruit and Vegetable Wholesalers of Barcelona (AGEM), Mercabarna has seen a considerable reduction in the number of trucks with fruit and vegetables from southern Spain. For this reason, there will also be a reduction in the supply of fresh produce from major producing areas such as Almeria, Granada, Malaga and Huelva. "While this will not cause global shortages in the wholesale market, it will affect certain foods, such as eggplants, peppers, zucchini, and strawberries. There is concern that many producers will lose their crops, as their campaigns are currently in full swing," they say. For all these reasons, they call for the need to find a solution to the conflict as soon as possible.
The impact of the strikes in the producing and marketing sector of Almeria is being so remarkable that it has forced many companies to suspend their activities until the situation becomes normal again, given the impossibility of loading goods intended for major domestic and international markets.
The paralysis of the marketing activity entails not being able to sell the harvested products and those that are still to be harvested. This is happening at a time of the campaign when good prices are being paid to Almeria's producers, who will be unable to continue with their productive activity while the strike continues.
But the situation is not only causing economic losses to producers, according to UPA Huelva. It is also taking a toll on the workforce of the farms and handling areas. In fact, due to this situation, some agricultural producers have already set some limits to the harvests, given the risk that the product won't be shipped as intended from the warehouses.
"The situation seems set to continue for several days, during which supplies will be limited. In addition to the spoiling of a large amount of fruit and other perishables, it is feared that when the situation is resolved, fresh produce may start arriving in lower amounts, or in poor condition," says a marketer.