For any business, knowledge and foresight is key – and here at SVZ, we understand that for businesses using large quantities of fruit and vegetables, it’s imperative to plan ahead and be prepared for what nature has in store. With this in mind, we are sharing our annual harvest preview, directly from the fields of Spain.
It’s been a turbulent start to 2020, with the COVID-19 pandemic putting pressure on global supply chains across countries and industries. The fruit and vegetable sector is no exception, with some smaller farms even cutting short their harvest season and seeking government support. However, our partners and farmers across key growing regions are working around the clock to ensure that crops are picked in a timely manner and transported to processing plants.
Before the COVID-19 pandemic escalated in Europe, the chances of a good berry crop in 2020 were improved by an increase in red fruit planting across Huelva, Spain. In total, more than 370 million strawberry plants were planted across Huelva from October 2019. In fact, the area of planted strawberries has increased 2% year-on-year, from 6,095 hectares to 6,217 hectares. Similarly, the planting areas of blueberries and raspberries have also increased this season – the latter by 7% year-on-year.
Unfortunately, closed borders and social distancing measures now mean that there is a shortage of pickers in European countries including Spain, and many farmers are concerned about crops being wasted in the field. For this reason, this year’s harvest activity is currently being kept to a minimum as farmers wait for sunnier, longer days to maximise output. Meanwhile, in Poland, although the fields are doing well with little to no frost damage and if it stays that way a good crop is expected, the availability of pickers is proving to be more of a challenge than the weather this year.
The demand for fresh fruit has remained stable throughout the turbulence, although the availability of the fruit is being put under pressure. Nevertheless, the strawberries that are being picked are of a good quality and colour. The Spanish red berry season is expected to last until first half of June, with the month also seeing the harvest of vegetables including cucumbers and courgettes.
As always, our dedicated team of agronomists are working closely with farmers and growers across both Poland and Spain, to monitor the fields and assess the expected volumes and yield for 2020. And, of course, we will be in touch directly if there are any important developments in the meantime.