The cold of recent weeks, which has been affecting the productivity of horticultural crops in Almeria since mid-January, has already been left behind, and things are going back to normal; also for tomatoes, as explained by Julian Rodriguez of CASI. "Just yesterday, we recorded 19 degrees Celsius in Almeria, and the plants are beginning to produce tomatoes normally. This has only been a temporary issue and, fortunately for our cooperative, whose production is based on a family farming model, we have been able to continue serving our customers at all times," he says.
However, in terms of prices, "this situation has actually given us a break because the campaign started badly. We started with low prices, ranging between 40 and 50 cents per kilo. However, we should recall that despite the fact that prices have shot up during the last three weeks, only after the final balance of the campaign will producers know how profitable the season has been," says Julian.
Julián with Celedonio Pleguezuelos at the recent edition of Fruit Logistica 2023.
In general, vegetable prices recorded quick increases after storms Gerard and Fien caused temperatures to plunge below optimal productive values, resulting in significant inter-weekly and year-on-year price increases in the Andalusian markets. In the specific case of tomatoes, the Prices and Markets Observatory estimated the rise in week 6 at 18% compared to the previous week (29% for plum tomatoes, which also recorded a rise of 93% over the same date in 2022), while revealing that the volume marketed in the province "had been reduced by about 30-35%" in just 7 days.
"As an agricultural producer, I would say that these prices are not even excessively expensive, as consumables such as fertilizers, water, or electricity have become up to 90% more expensive this year. Just to give an example, the same bag of fertilizer that last year cost 30 Euro is now sold for 62 Euro."
"Besides, practically 20% of the production has been lost this year due to the excessive autumn heat, which at the same time made the plants grow much faster; almost 30% more than normal." It was extremely warm from October to December," according to the Aemet, with significant thermal anomalies compared to the average in Almeria. December 2022 was actually record-breaking and became the warmest December on record, according to the meteorological agency. "Although the period with calima happened last year, it has continued to affect us this year," says Julian Rodriguez. "Until the first heavy rains fell at the end of the year, the dust that had accumulated on the greenhouse covers stayed there, and it had been taking light away from the plants, affecting their growth."
"However, we are fighters, and we always work with enthusiasm and make an effort; in fact, we still have 40% of the campaign left, and our prospects are very good. Our cooperative stands out for its good work, its quality products, and for betting on a line of flavored tomatoes with which few can compete. Ahead of spring, we have already planned the campaign so that we can continue supplying the best products to our customers."
For more information:
Carretera Níjar la Cañada, s/n
04120 Almería, Spain
Tel.: +34 950 626 007