Some producers in the province of Almeria have already started discarding plantations that could have remained productive until December, as reported by Francisco Vargas, president of Asaja Almeria. “The decline in prices of products such as courgettes and cucumbers is causing growers, who had already harvested 3 or 4 times, to rethink their strategies for the campaign, given the lack of profitability and the fact that prices are not expected to increase in late September.”
After discarding their crops, “the growers opted to prepare for a new cycle, with the prospect of being able to harvest the bulk of the production in January and continue until the months of March or April,” explained the president of Asaja.
Last year at this time, the prices at origin for these vegetables were “good for the time of the year,” recalled the leader; even in the case of cucumbers, “prices in late September and early October exceeded one euro per kilo,” allowing producers to offset the impact of the previous prices.
This year, according to data provided by the agricultural unions, “we are seeing prices well below the production costs for both cucumbers and courgettes.” And, in the last week, the price of cucumbers has fallen by as much as 46% and the product has been sold for less than 15 cents per kilo, “i.e. even below the reference price set for withdrawals for free distribution.” The situation is similar for courgettes, with prices of around 10 cents per kilo.
After the “poor results of the previous season,” the president of Asaja Almeria believes that it “is understandable for growers to be weary, so we encourage our marketing companies to use all means at their disposal to get prices at origin to rebound. We also ask for the product to be marketed only for fresh consumption, thus preventing it from being stored and later bringing prices at origin down again.”
Francisco Vargas assured that “if no changes are made or measures are adopted, we will go on the same path as in the previous season. It is necessary to strive towards a change in the model, because the current strategy is harming the producers, who are the ones taking risks and suffering losses,” he concluded.