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Mariano Zapata, President of Proexport:

"There are chains that don't understand the situation and the rise in prices and prefer to have empty shelves"

Spanish fruits and vegetables are scarce in European supermarkets due to bad weather. While supply in most countries in central and northern Europe, such as Germany and France, has fallen by around 30%, in the UK, it has decreased so much that some companies have started rationing how much their customers can purchase.

"Production is much lower than usual since mid-January due to production imbalances, which were caused by the high temperatures there were in autumn and the beginning of winter, and the sharp drop in temperatures afterward," stated Mariano Zapata, the president of Proexport. In addition, the production area decreased by about 15% - i.e., about 6,000 hectares- due to the sudden restrictions on the use of water for irrigation and the increase in input costs. So we now have the perfect storm," he stated.

"Logically, given the reduced supply and 25 to 30% increase in production costs, fruit, and vegetable prices increased much higher than usual so that producers can continue to produce. The situation has changed. When inflation stood at 1.2%, it was easier to take risks planting more and close prices before the start of the season. Now that the inflation is high and the cost of inputs has increased, we are in a situation of greater weakness," Mariano Zapata added.

According to the representative of Proexport, producers have been unable to fulfill some programs due to the lack of supply. "This situation has forced us to distribute production among customers so that there is still supply. Many supermarket chains are understanding this situation and are willing to adjust the volumes of their programs, paying a few cents more than what they were paying so far."

"However, other chains have tried to impose closed prices without recognizing the increase in costs that producers have faced, or the current situation in the field, to avoid increasing consumer prices to maintain their market shares. Thus, they have opted to have empty shelves with posters," he stated. According to Proexport, this has mainly happened in some chains in the UK, as there has been no shortage in Germany, France, and Belgium, among other countries.

The drop in volumes has occurred in virtually all leafy vegetables, brassicas, pepper, tomato, etc. "Zucchini experienced the lowest decrease in supply, and its prices remained more stable. We anticipate that, if all goes well and there isn't too much rain, supply won't be back to normal for another month. The recovery of volumes of greenhouse products will be faster," he stated.

"The limitations imposed due to 'environmental sustainability' can jeopardize the sustainability of the production in an area that can produce fruits and vegetables throughout the year, which is the only area capable of producing these products with guarantees to supply the whole of Europe in autumn and winter," he stressed.

For more information:
Avd/Ronda de Levante
30008 Murcia – España
Tel.: 968 271 779
Fax: 968 200 098

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