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Pablo González, from BerryDealer: “The reduction in the water supply is forcing us to be more efficient”

"The strawberry campaign will be delayed in Huelva and the raspberry volumes won't recover until January"

The start of the strawberry campaign is still a few weeks away in Huelva, where unusually high temperatures during the fall caused a significant delay in the planting. Meanwhile, raspberry sales are underway, with prices that remain high due to the reduction in the supply caused by the wind storms of late October, which will also have an impact on the blueberry volumes.

"The heat is a key factor for the planting, and the nurseries have also supplied the plants later than usual due to the influence of the high temperatures," says Pablo Gonzalez, manager of the company BerryDealer. "Usually, the strawberry planting process is completed by the end of September, but this year, it has been so delayed that there are still some growers finishing the planting right now. The first Spanish strawberries will, therefore, arrive later, and there could be some overlap between varieties in the spring."

At the end of October, strong wind gusts in southern Spain took a toll on around 2,000 hectares of berries in Huelva. "The winds caused significant damage to greenhouse and tunnel infrastructures, as well as to the crops, especially to those in production, such as raspberries," said Pablo González.

"The raspberry supply, which was not abundant this year due to the reduction of the acreage, has been further reduced and is not expected to recover until at least January. This has also prevented the first clash with the Moroccan production, which has also been affected by the wind. We won't see the supply bottlenecks that usually happen in November, and prices have remained high since the beginning of the season," he said.

After the necessary repairs have been made to their strawberry greenhouses, the grower and exporter say they are "ready for the strawberry season, which will start in a few weeks." However, he also says that "there is still uncertainty as to whether the crops' water needs can be fully covered, following the approval of the decree law that reduces the water allocation to 50%, and which will come into force in 2024."

"This will force the entire sector to become more water-efficient. In fact, we have taken steps to improve water management by switching to hydroponic cultivation, which at the same time is allowing us to take better care of the soil by reducing the use of pesticides. Besides, we are participating in the implementation of an efficient irrigation use program developed by the irrigation community to which we belong, which will allow us to save up to 40% of water compared to our usual consumption," said Pablo González.

BerryDealer recently joined Fresh Forward's Fandango strawberry variety club, the same program that manages varieties like the Calinda. "The Fandango is a variety with the same advantages as the Calinda, but with some extra shelf life. We expect to pick the first strawberries in early December. Also, in order to ensure a consistent supply in December this year, we will also work with Planasa's Red Sayra variety for the first time."

For more information:
Pablo González
Berry Dealer
Mob.: + 34 657673064
[email protected]

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