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Maura Maxwell



Mixed fortunes for Huelva’s soft fruit sector

Raspberries outperform strawberries and blueberries in 2017/18, says Freshuelva

Mixed fortunes for Huelva’s soft fruit sector

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Huelva’s strawberry sales fell in 2017/18 due to a combination of adverse weather and competition from northern European suppliers during the latter stages of the season.

According to the latest figures from Freshuelva, sales fell by 8 per cent in volume and 4 per cent in value, despite a 9 per cent increase in planted area. A total of 280,300 tonnes of strawberries with a corresponding value of €437.27m were sold during the last campaign. However, average prices were 4 per cent higher than last season.

Harvested volume in the first quarter of 2018 was 20 per cent lower than in the same period last year due to low temperatures in January and the beginning of February, and rainfall during March.

Export volumes picked up in April, however sales fell sharply in mid-May due to a rise in temperatures and competition from other European producing countries such as France, Italy, the UK, Germany and Belgium.

“In summary, export volumes during the first half of the campaign fell due to meteorological problems while the second half of the season was characterise my more regular production and demand,” Freshuelva said.
Raspberry production registered an increase of 2 per cent to 19,170 tonnes, with average prices rising by 4 per cent on last season. This translated into an increase in turnover of 3.85 per cent to €130.5m. Overall, the area planted with raspberries increased by 14.45 per cent to 2,212ha.

Freshuelva said raspberry exports had developed normally up to May, when the appearance of local production from other European countries coincided with an increase in volumes caused by the high temperatures, leading to oversupply which caused a significant drop in prices during the final stages of the season.

Blueberry volumes were up 15 per cent to 38,800 tonnes following a 12 per cent increase in planted area. However, turnover rose by just 4 per cent and average prices fell 3 per cent compared to last season.

Finally blackberry sales totalled 1,800 tonnes, a 3 per cent increase on 2016/17, while prices fell by 5 per cent on average.

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