In the first part of the campaign, strawberry productions have been affected by significant delays, which have become especially noticeable this past week, in which another cold snap has slowed the fruit's ripening down. "Right now, there are varieties that should already be yielding 200 and even 300 grams per plant, but I can confirm that our current average stands at 70 grams," says Manuel Alfaro, "And that also depends on the plot because others are picking only 40 grams per plant."
"This year, there have been issues with the supply of plants from the nurseries, which has been slow," says Manuel. It should be recalled that at the beginning of the campaign, due to various factors, a significant amount of seedlings had to be replanted (about 20%, according to Freshuelva), which delayed the end of the planting phase by almost a month. Consequently, the entry into production of the plants that should have been harvested since December was also delayed.
"We missed that whole period, and the results have been terrible for entrepreneurs. I am a member of Frutas de Andalucía, and in my case, I am picking less than 30% of the fruit that I should be picking. I have five and a half million strawberry plants in place; a very significant amount, which has also entailed high nursery expenses, and instead of harvesting the 30,000 kilos a day that I should, I am picking between 8,000 and 9,000 kilos," says Manuel. "However, my expenses are the same as if we were harvesting everything. We have to continue fertilizing the plants, carrying out the treatments, etc.".
"It is true that prices are higher precisely because the supply is more limited, reaching about 3.85 or 4 Euro per kilo. But we are only getting a third of that, so they are not making up for the situation. And we have to take into account that these early varieties have to be abandoned by the end of March or early April because their cycle is then over."
"On Friday, I met with a nurseryman to show him the current figures and talk about the very difficult situation that we, the entrepreneurs, are suffering."
While hoping that the plants will pick up speed and reach their productive peak in the next few days (although, in some cases, it will be difficult to catch up on the delay in this first part of the season), the sights are already set on the medium and late varieties. "For now, they are very much held up, waiting for the sun to come out. We can only hope that this second part of the season will go much better."
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