Miguel Gonzalez, MG Fruit:

"No disaster year for any Spanish products"

The Spanish vegetable supply has not been doing great recently because of transport strikes, severe weather, and the Sahara wind. "Fortunately, the strikes seem to be over now, but they caused significantly lower supplies in recent weeks," says Miguel Gonzalez of MG Fruit in the Netherlands.

"Transporters were disappointed with the high costs, and growers decided not to harvest fearing their products wouldn't be transported. On top of that, it even rained, not helping at all the situation in the Almerian and Murcian production areas. Thus, the Spanish trade's quality isn't optimal."

Prices rose to unprecedented heights last week. "Products like iceberg lettuce and red bell peppers were particularly expensive because growers harvested much less. But this should normalize a little this week. We are already seeing this happening with red peppers because more Dutch ones are coming onto the market. It's absurd that round tomatoes are selling for €16/17 at this time of year, although the Moroccan export ban certainly plays a role in this," says Miguel.

He does not believe clients are willing to pass on the higher prices for things like transport and packaging. "Our trade depends on supply and demand. If a product is lacking, prices rise. So, the past few weeks' high prices were mainly because of product unavailability. Asking more to growers is not regarded very positively, because that would make them incur more expenses."

Yet, on the whole, Spanish growers can look back on the past season with satisfaction, thinks Miguel. "Of course, there were lower prices here and there, but I can't name a single Spanish product that had a disaster year. For example, last year, there was an oversupply of strawberries and you didn't know where to put them. Now, they have a good price for the whole season. Everything is generally well-balanced this season," he explains.

"There will still be Spanish greenhouse vegetables on the market until late April. How much will be sent depends on the Dutch supply. Transportation costs are sky-high, so the closer one can find sales, the better. On top of that, the watermelon season is also about to start. We'll start with Moroccan watermelons as early as next week."

"Cultivation from Almeria will follow in mid-April. Due to the bad weather, the Spanish watermelon season will start a bit later, but I expect high prices for the first melons, also because Ramadan is starting, which will certainly boost sales too," Miguel concludes.

For more information:
Miguel Gonzalez
MG Fruit
49-60 Handelscentrum ZHZ
2991 LD, Barendrecht, NL
Tel: +31 (0) 651 267 933
Email: miguel@mgfruit.nl   
Website: www.mgfruit.nl

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