The strawberry sector ends the season with 302,500 tonnes

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The average price for strawberry has increased this season by 10%

The turnover this season has increased to 454,665,000 euros.

The strawberry sector in Huelva has ended the season 2016-2017 with a total production of 302,500 tonnes. A slightly higher volume than last year (2% more) and despite the 7% decrease registered of the planted area. The Huelva Strawberry Producers and Exporters Association, Freshuelva, point out that the turnover amounted to 454,665,000 euros, which represents an increase of about 15% on the previous season. According to the statistical data provided by associated companies, the average price for strawberry has increased by 10% this year.

With regards to the development of the season, the sum of the volume harvested between December and January was reduced by 50% in relation to the same period of the previous season, although 2015/16 began with exceptionally high volumes due to the weather. In February, low temperatures benefited the crop in terms of quality and the volume to be harvested, so this helped to maintain prices. For its part, March was very similar in terms of volumes and the average price in relation to last season.

However, in April, problems arose due to excessively high temperatures that led to a significant increase in production, which in turn also led to the abandonment of plots due to the shortage of personnel for harvesting tasks.

In May and June, harvest volumes fell sharply, while strawberries from other countries, such as France, Italy, United Kingdom, Germany or Belgium, appeared strongly in European markets. This, coupled with high temperatures, led to the end of the season.

The two main destinations for Huelva strawberry continue to be Germany and France, as they account for 30 and 20% of total exports respectively, while the United Kingdom stands in third place with 13%.

For Freshuelva, the 2016-2017 season had a very positive first part, followed by a more problematic second one that affected the exported volume and the final prices which suffered in a remarkable way, although, in general terms, the season has registered positive results for the strawberry sector.

Berries

The raspberries production reached 18,800 tonnes and an increase of 18% with respect to the previous season. However, the price of this berry descended by an average of 15%. By contrast, billing has settled at an increase of 4.5%, with a total of 125,475,000 euros. It must be taken into consideration that the cultivated area for this crop has increased 6% to reach 1,932 hectares.

Raspberry exports (almost 95% of its production) evolved in a very regular way during the first months of the season, with practically no production peaks and adjusting to the demand. However, during May and early June, due to the appearance of local raspberry productions from other destination countries and the remarkable increase in volumes as a result of high temperatures, there was an accumulation of product and a huge competition in markets which inevitably led to a significant reduction in prices during the second part of the season.

The blackberry harvest began at the end of February with small amounts, followed by gradual increases in March, although the months with the greatest volumes were April, May and early June. In total, production has increased by 10% in relation to the previous year, with a total of around 1,700 tonnes, although the average price fell by 25%.

Finally this season, blueberry has been noted for a marked increase of its cultivated area with another 30%,  which in turn has increased the marketed volumes by practically 60%, besides concentrating outputs in April and May, coinciding with the hot weather periods.

Hence, the commercialized production to the 30th of June has neared 33,000 tonnes, although this crop is still being harvested with very insignificant, not very representative volumes. The final average price has also decreased 27%.