There are several factors that will condition the 2023 fruit and vegetable campaigns; from the entry into force of the new CAP to the new waste and packaging regulations or digital hyperregulation. However, water, costs, and climate issues continue to stand out.
Fertilizer prices remain high and, despite the rains recorded, there still is uncertainty about the future availability of water for the campaign. There is already concern about the drought and the lack of water supplies for tomatoes and peppers in Seville and for avocados in Malaga. In addition, authorities have confirmed that there will be a gradual cut in the transfer of water to Levante.
The unusual temperatures have also generated advanced blooms of peach and almond trees in Murcia and Almeria, which could ruin part of the production if there are frosts.
According to Andres Gongora, COAG's head of fruits and vegetables, the climate will be the most determining factor of this campaign and all future campaigns. "We must continue to deepen in the improvement of agricultural insurance," he added.
He also stated that the cut in the transfer of water to the Levante would result in lower yields of lettuce, broccoli, and watermelon. In the future, he added, to continue producing in the Mediterranean arc, producers will be forced to rely on the use of desalinated or reused water.
According to Francisca Iglesias, from UPA, the priorities this year are formalizing the contracts in a generalized way and implementing the food chain law correctly so that all the links have margins and nobody sells below costs.
All this must be achieved in a context that yields little encouraging data. The latest ministerial data indicates that Spanish households purchased 12.2% fewer fruits and 13.9% fewer vegetables in the past year. In addition, fruit and vegetable exports, mainly to other European countries, have slowed their growth to 5.5%, while imports have rebounded by 20.7%.
Last November - the latest data available - exports fell by 5.7% compared to the same month in 2021. According to Jose Maria Pozancos, the director of Fepex, this decrease is due to the higher prices caused by the increase in costs (which in turn precipitated the fall in consumption), and to the increase in competition from third countries within the Community market.