The Spanish-French-Italian-Portuguese Strawberry Contact Group recently met in Huelva. The group analyzed the impact of the increase in production costs, climatic adversities, and differences in phytosanitary regulations between Community producers and third countries, which they stated: "also contribute to making strawberry promotions that bring down prices and despise the quality of our product."
Freshuelva carried out an analysis of the campaign in Spain, highlighting that the last campaign resulted in an 8.90% decrease in exports, mainly due to the climatic adversities suffered at the beginning and end of the campaign. Regarding the current season, Freshuelva highlighted that the planted area had remained stable and had increased by 2%. They also said there was much uncertainty among producers, which had been forced to replant 20% of the plants due to climatic adversities.
The French sector spoke about the production difficulties they faced in the last season, which ended with 69,000 tons destined exclusively for national consumption, which only covered 55% of the demand. The French highlighted that there was a lot of uncertainty regarding the current campaign but that the number of hectares of strawberries planted remained stable.
The Italian delegation stressed that, even though they still don't have the figures for last season, everything points to a decrease in exports, especially in countries such as Germany and Switzerland due to strong Greek competition, accompanied by a 25% increase in imports, mainly of Spanish strawberries, caused by a decrease in local production due to weather adversities.
In turn, the Portuguese delegation reported that they had produced 3,400 tons of strawberries in the previous season and that there had been a significant decrease in production due to weather issues.
Finally, the producers agreed to invite Greece to join and be part of this Contact Group because, as a result of the closing of the Russian market due to the war in Ukraine, the Greek strawberry has begun to enter and have an important presence in the Central European markets, becoming a strong competition for the strawberries from Portugal and Italy.