In recent seasons, the extension of Almeria’s pepper cultivation and marketing campaign has definitely affected the planning of other producing areas, which at given times of the year are unable to compete with ease. This has not only affected the neighbouring sector in Murcia, which its coming into the market with its peppers increasingly late, but has also slowed down the growth registered by Dutch peppers between 2009 and 2012.
This was explained by Jan van der Blom, a specialist in biological control of pests (and familiar with the Dutch market), in the framework of the recent Infoagro Exhibition. He held a joint conference with David Uclés, Chief of Studies of Cajamar Caja Rural, and Juan Carlos Pérez, professor at the University of Almeria. The three experts discussed the current international competition for Almeria’s horticulture.
Pepper production costs in the Netherlands exceed 1.5 Euro per kilo, while in Almeria they only slightly exceed 0.6 Euro on average, as explained by Juan Carlos Pérez. When they meet in the market, Almeria has a competitive advantage, not only due to the lower cost of production, but also to the service it is able to offer. The speakers noted the flexibility Almeria has to respond to market demands. In this context, only distance remains a handicap for Almeria’s sector.
In recent years, Almeria has also seen reduced competitive pressure from Israel. Production costs in Israel are somewhat lower than those of Almeria, 0.52 Euro per kilo, but Israelites have increased their shipments to Russia, thereby reducing their presence in EU countries.
Other figures also serve as evidence of the growing relevance of Almeria as a pepper exporter. In 2013, Germany, one of the largest European markets, started importing more peppers from Spain (the vast majority from Almeria) than from the Netherlands, when in previous years Dutch produce clearly had the winning hand.
In 2012, the Dutch sector exported 160,000 tonnes of peppers to Germany, while Spain shipped 120,000 tonnes. Currently, things have changed. According to figures provided at the conference, Spanish exports to Germany now amount to 180,000 tonnes, while the Netherlands ships 140,000 tonnes.