AN unseasonable winter mixture of mild temperatures followed by cold weather have caused vegetable production to fall in Spain.
Almeria, which accounts for 40% of the country’s vegetable exports, has seen big crop reductions.
Tomatoes produced in the region have fallen 22% over the first five weeks of 2023 compared to the same period last year.
Aubergine crops are down by 25% and cucumbers are down by 21%.
The Almeria Association of Fruit and Vegetable Producers(Coexphal) described the situation as ‘concerning’.
Coexphal president, Luis Miguel Fernandez, said: “We did not expect this situation as we had mild temperatures right up until December, which increased production in the first part of the winter growing season.”
Although all greenhouse-grown vegetable crops have fallen, farmers say the high prices caused by reduced supplies don’t make up for the loss of volume and increased production costs.
Coexphal said the higher temperatures – which also led to a rise in pests – together with inflation and the Ukraine conflict have created an uncertain future for the agricultural sector.
The Almeria area has a status as a big supplier to Spanish and European supermarkets during the winter months.
However, Fernandez warned that with retailers forced to look elsewhere, the current situation could have a negative long-term impact for local growers.