Spain cuts berry exports due to COVID-19 and labor shortage


Spain cuts berry exports due to COVID-19 and labor shortage

08/12/2020

Spanish exporters managed to supply only 163 thousand tons of garden strawberries to foreign markets, which is 3% less than in the same period last year

Spain has reduced the export of berries by 6% in January-May this year, EastFruit reports, citing FreshFruitPortal. According to the Association Freshuelva, export volumes amounted to about 254 thousand tons, and a decrease was recorded in all key segments of the country’s berry export.

Thus, Spanish exporters managed to supply only 163 thousand tons of garden strawberries to foreign markets, which is 3% less than in the same period last year. At the same time, the export of blueberries fell by 7% to 51 thousand tons, and the supply of raspberries fell by 20% to 37 thousand tons. The most significant drop rates were noted in the export of blackberries, which fell by half to 1.7 thousand tons. Germany, France and Great Britain remained the main markets for Spanish berries.

See also: Will European farmers harvest vegetables and fruits without labor migrants?

The COVID-19 pandemic turned out to be a key obstacle to the development of Spanish exports. The main sales of strawberries from Spain usually take place in April, and May is an important month for the sale of blueberries and raspberries, and it was during these months, according to Rafael Dominguez, head of Freshuelva, that the situation in the country was most critical.

The main challenge posed by COVID-19 has been the availability of labor and the safety of seasonal workers in Spain’s berry plantations. However, according to Dominguez, there were only 2 positive cases of COVID-19 infection per 80,000 such workers. In general, the start of the season was characterized by a significant shortage of labor: for example, the closure of the border with Morocco did not allow about 13 thousand workers to enter Spain. The general decline in demand for berries in importing countries and the closure of HoReCa enterprises did not add optimism to producers.

EastFruit

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